FDA cannot silence scientific information about vitamin supplements

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Good news today from Washington DC, Federal Judge Rules the FDA Cannot Silence Accurate Scientific Information About The Health Benefits of  Vitamin Supplements. This is a victory for dietary supplements and for free speech. In another huge defeat for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),  a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled unconstitutional the FDA’s censorship of selenium dietary supplement health claims. The Alliance for Natural Health USA (ANH-USA), along with dietary supplement formulators Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw, and the Coalition to End FDA and FTC Censorship, represented by Jonathan Emord of Emord & Associates, were successful in protecting the First Amendment right of dietary supplement manufacturers to provide “qualified health claims” which accurately communicate the state of science in relation to the dietary supplement.

This is a remarkable seventh victory over the FDA by the Emord firm (six of which invalidated FDA health claim censorship). The federal judge denied the government’s motion to dismiss the case and granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment. All principal parts of the decision were clear victories for the ANH-USA and its fellow plaintiffs. This suit was the latest in a series of actions filed against the FDA for its illegal bans on qualified health claims. Qualified health claims are used when there is significant but not absolutely conclusive evidence for a relationship between a food, food component, or dietary supplement and reduced risk of a disease or health-related condition.

The lawsuit was in response to the FDA’s June 19, 2009 decision to suppress selenium/cancer-risk reduction claims. Ten of those claims (all appealed by the plaintiffs) were held unconstitutionally censored. The plaintiffs expressed their belief that this violated their right to communicate truthful health information to the public. The judge found that the FDA had denied claims despite credible evidence supporting them and had thereby infringed on free speech. “The ability to share information with the public about the benefits of health foods and food supplements is essential in order to advance the cause of healthy living and disease prevention. Consumers want to make healthy dietary and lifestyle changes, but have been denied accurate health information.

This ruling will allow producers of natural products to provide accurate health information, based on valid science, to consumers without burdensome overregulation by the FDA,” said Gretchen DuBeau, executive and legal director of ANH-USA. Prior to this ruling the FDA required near conclusive scientific evidence for any nutrient claim. The judge ruled that so long as the claim is an accurate reflection of the state of science, the First Amendment protects it. During these proceedings, the FDA never explained why it believes the censorship of valid science to be in the best interest of the American people or why such censorship would help Americans make better health choices.