ACT - 13
                 Copyright (C) 1993 Homer Wilson Smith
       Redistribution rights granted for non commercial purposes.
     7-21-93 National Health Alliance fax update excerpts.
     The debate over H.R. 1709 intensified yesterday when Rep.  Edolphus
Towns (D-NY) chaired the first congressional hearing on supplements
since the introduction of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education
Act last April.
     ... he was conducting the hearing because of his concerns over
recent FDA proposals to regulate supplements.
     Another unfriendly witness, Ryan Huxtable from the University of
Arizona, attacked herbs across the board, claiming that because many
plants produce toxins as a defense against predators, most herbs are
probably toxic and their medicinal use should have been abandoned after
the middle ages.  Although he conceded that plants are useful because
pharmaceuticals can be extracted from them, he said he believes that
traditional medicines are inferior and even dangerous when compared to
highly concentrated or synthesized pharmaceutical preparations.
     Rob McCaleb, president of the Herb Research Foundation, warned the
committee that the FDA seemed to be committed to taking away products
that are important to prevention and self-care.  McCaleb pointed out
that the FDA's Dietary Supplement Task Force Report advises regulating
herbs as food additives, a proposal that all but guarantees their
removal from the marketplace.
     In their report, he explained, the FDA explicitly states that one
of their primary objectives is to make sure that dietary supplements do
not interfere with the development of new pharmaceutical drugs.  McCaleb
pointed out that saw palmetto berries, for example, are widely used in
Europe to effectively treat benign prostatic hypertrophy - at less than
half the cost of the prescription drug Proscar, which along with surgery
is the treatment of choice in the U.S.
     ((Ed comments:  Whose choice, the people who make the money from
surgery or the people who pay the money? - Homer))