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April 1998

Please Co-sponsor the Consumer Health Free Speech Act (HR 2868)

TO: The Honorable ____________________
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C., 20515

Dear Congressional Representative:

The Consumer Health Free Speech Act, recently introduced into the House by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), is needed to preserve freedom of choice in health care in the United States. This will help Americans learn about the scientific advances in nutrition occurring today by allowing truthful health claims for foods and dietary supplements. The bill proposes the following changes:

FIRST: The present definition of the term "drug" in the Food Drug & Cosmetic Act (FDCA) is so overly broad that it includes foods, herbs and dietary supplements. The present flawed definition reads: "The term 'drug' means articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man . . ."

Congressman Paul's bill would add three words, "other than food," immediately following the word "articles," so that it would read:

"The term 'drug' means articles, other than food, intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in man . . ."

Adding these three words would exempt all foods (which includes herbs and other dietary supplements) from being regulated as drugs by the FDA. It would also prevent the FDA from banning truthful health claims based upon scientific evidence for these foods simply because they haven't been approved as "drug" claims by the FDA.

Scientific research in nutrition has shown that herbs and other dietary supplements are safe and effective in preventing many diseases. However, the flawed definition of the term drug makes it a federal crime for the dietary supplement industry to give this truthful information to consumers in labeling herbs or other dietary supplements.

SECOND: Wording in section 403 of the FDCA gives the FDA excessive powers over herbs and dietary supplements. It proclaims, "A food shall be deemed to be misbranded if its labeling is false or misleading in any particular . . ."

The Consumer Health Free Speech Act would change "false or misleading" to "false and misleading." Changing the "or" to "and" will set a higher and fairer standard that the FDA must meet before limiting or banning the sale of herbs or other dietary supplements by claiming they present an unreasonable "risk."

Name ___________________________ Date_________________


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