Life Extension Magazine®

Issue: Sep 1996

The inspiring story of how the Life Extension Foundation triumphed over a powerful federal agency that tried to send its leaders to prison.

VICTORY OVER THE FDA

By Saul Kent, President of the Life Extension Foundation

After an 11-year reign of terror by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) against The Life Extension Foundation, the FDA has "thrown in the towel".

In November 1995, Federal Judge Daniel Hurley dismissed all but one of the 56 criminal charges filed against Foundation officers Saul Kent and William Faloon. In February 1996, Judge Hurley dismissed the final charge (see above).

This is the first time in its 88-year history that the FDA has been forced to give up on a criminal prosecution. After spending millions of taxpayer dollars, the FDA has abandoned its crusade to destroy The Foundation and throw its leaders into prison.

The FDA's dismissal of the charges against me (and Bill Faloon) is an unprecedented victory against FDA tyranny that goes far beyond winning in court. The FDA's historic defeat is a victory for everyone who cherishes freedom in healthcare. Before we discuss the implications of this victory, let's take a look at the story behind it.

The FDA Raids The Foundation

Police Raiding LEF Headquarters

On Feb. 26, 1987, I was in California, meeting with anti-aging scientists whose research was being funded by The Foundation. Early in the day, I called Foundation headquarters in Florida and knew immediately that something was wrong when no one answered the phone. After an hour, I reached an employee at home, who told me that The Foundation had been raided by the FDA.

I didn't find out the details of the raid until later that evening when I finally reached Bill Faloon at his home in Florida. I was in shock all that day, assuming that the FDA had seized the Foundation's assets and shut it down. I wondered if Faloon had been arrested and whether he was in jail.

What It Was Like At The Foundation

At The Foundation, Faloon didn't have time to think about such things. He had his hands full dealing with the battalion of troops that had invaded The Foundation. Here's what Faloon had to confront that day, as noted in the April-May 1987 issue of Life Extension Report:

"On Feb. 26, 1987, an armed force of about 25 FDA agents and U.S. Marshals smashed down the glass doors of our store....and stormed into our nearby warehouse with guns drawn.

"At 10 AM, Bill Faloon received a phone call telling him that the FDA was breaking into our store with a battering ram. As Bill started to leave the warehouse, he suddenly found himself staring down the barrel of a 45 caliber pistol, which belonged to one of a second group of FDA agents, who were simultaneously attacking our warehouse!"

Terrorized Employees

The reaction of The Foundation's employees to the raid was absolute terror. To get some idea of what is was like for them on that day, let's return to the same issue of Life Extension Report:

"When Helen Bishop walked to the back of the warehouse, she heard someone say 'hello'. She thought it was a delivery man, but the next thing she knew 'cops were rushing in from both doors to surround us.'

"One of them stopped her, showed her his badge, and forced her to line up against the wall with the other employees. A search was then conducted of the personal belongings of every employee.

"Al Wood, one of our advisors, was working on the upper level of the warehouse when a Marshal came up the stairs with his gun drawn and said 'Get up!' Wood immediately threw his arms up and was told to march down the stairs. 'Everyone moved slowly,' he recalls, 'so they wouldn't excite the Marshal waving his gun. When we asked him what this was all about, he said he had a Search Warrant."


Illegal Search And Seizure

The Judge

We later discovered that the Search Warrant had been obtained with perjured testimony by FDA agent Martin Katz before Magistrate Lurana S. Snow. This pattern continued throughout the day as FDA agents engaged in continuous illegal and unconstitutional behavior.

When the authorities didn't find the items they were supposed to search for, they seized products, literature, documents, computers, and personal effects NOT on the Search Warrant! Evidence presented at a later hearing showed that more than 80% of the items seized by the FDA on the day of the raid was done so illegally...in direct violation of the 6th amendment to the Constitution! An FDA official testified at the hearing that the FDA's policy is to instruct its agents to seize anything they want! These agents are told, said the official, that "if it turns out that you've seized the wrong things, you can always return them later."

As it turned out, this blatantly illegal policy was further corrupted by the FDA's refusal to return the items they seized illegally from The Foundation. It took a court order from a federal judge to force the FDA to return the illegal fruits of their seizure.

Another court order had to be obtained (at considerable expense) by a tenant in our building who had nothing to do with us, to force the FDA to return his property, which the FDA had also seized illegally!


 

Repeated Violations Of The First Amendment

By Saul Kent, President of the Life Extension Foundation

The FDA's illegal actions on the day of the raid started a pattern of repeated violations of our first amendment (free speech) rights. One of the FDA's most outrageous acts was their seizure of 5,000 copies of our newsletter Life Extension Report, which were in sealed envelopes ready to be mailed to our members. Since each of these 5,000 copies was identical, the FDA's purpose in seizing them was to prevent our members from receiving their newsletters.

Interestingly, the 5,000 issues seized featured a report on the scientific research we were funding, which had nothing to do with promoting "unapproved" products.

Several years later we discovered that FDA agent Katz had called the producer of a South Florida radio show that Bill Faloon had appeared on in an attempt to persuade the producer to ban Bill from future shows. This blatant attempt to interfere with our first amendment rights backfired when the producer testified in court (at one of our hearings) about the FDA's attempt to "intimidate" him.

Consequences Of The FDA Raid

The immediate consequences of the FDA raid were daunting. The first problem we had was that most of our product inventory had been seized by the FDA. Next was the fact that they had taken many of the documents we needed to do business and most of our literature. Then there were the traumatic effects on our employees, who were afraid to come to work, suffered from nightmares, and found it difficult to concentrate.

The next wave of problems involved the vendors we were using to supply the products and services we needed to stay in business. Suddenly, nobody wanted to give us credit, and some companies didn't want to do business with us at all. Having to pay for everything up front was especially difficult because of the losses we had incurred. It didn't help that we were now targets for the media as well.

Finally, there was the reaction of our members. Many of them supported us in our time of need; but others began to look for other sources for their life extension products. They figured that any company raided by the government wouldn't be in business much longer.


"Plead Guilty" FDA

Every attorney we consulted said we could expect 5-to-20 years in prison and that our only hope of getting reasonable prison time was to "plead guilty".

Everyone we consulted, including attorneys who were FDA "experts", told us we had to submit to the FDA's authority to have any chance of surviving. They told us we had to stop promoting "unapproved" therapies to extend the human lifespan immediately!

We ignored all this advice and instead decided to wage all-out war against the FDA. We did this knowing that we would not only risk our livelihood, but our personal freedom as well.

This was a war that even our most avid supporters thought we could never win.

We were told again and again that the FDA had the unlimited resources of the federal government at its disposal, and that an organization with fewer than 5,000 members had no chance of winning an all-out war with them.

Entering The Political Arena

We knew our position was scientifically correct, and that the public would support us if we could expose the truth about FDA corruption and incompetence. But this was 1987, when the FDA still had the public's confidence and most people still "trusted" the government.

Nonetheless, we began an aggressive political campaign to attack the FDA's credibility. We began to work with health freedom advocates such as Clinton Ray Miller, who's been fighting for alternative medical causes for decades, as well as other freedom fighters around the country.


Establishing A Political Branch image

Our next move was to establish the Political Coordinator's Office and hire a full-time advocate to lobby against the FDA.

Our first political victory was in 1991 when we helped defeat a bill that would have expanded the FDA's enforcement powers to the point of possibly destroying the supplement industry. Most people have short memories, or don't realize that we were responsible for initiating the public uprising against the FDA that began in 1991.

Our current Political Coordinator is John Hammell. John's in-your-face style of political battling has made The Foundation the nation's foremost advocate for healthcare freedom. While most groups focus on a single area, The Foundation fights for the rights of all Americans to have access to therapies of their choice.

The Foundation has been spending its political capital on a wide variety of causes. We've fought for citizens who want free access to dietary supplements, unapproved therapies from offshore countries, more rapid approval of drugs and devices, and the development of revolutionary anti-aging therapies.

 

Our Greatest Weapon

By Saul Kent, President of the Life Extension Foundation

Our greatest weapon is the willingness of our members to send letters, faxes, and phone calls to political leaders. The activism of our members has given us the political clout to exert major influence over the political process in this country.

A Legal Assault On The System

At the same time we were developing our political capability, we also began to enter the legal arena by filing lawsuits against the FDA. Some of these lawsuits dealt with the FDA's assault on us, but others were on behalf of the American people as a whole.


Protecting the Rights of Alzheimer's Patients

A good example of our legal efforts was the Class Action lawsuit we filed in 1990 on behalf of millions of Alzheimer's patients who were denied access to Tacrine, an effective therapy whose approval had been blocked by an FDA smear campaign. The FDA tried to sabotage Tacrine and to destroy the career of Dr. William Summers, the scientist who discovered its benefits for Alzheimer patients.

While The Foundation's lawsuit did not lead to a court decision to force the FDA to play fair with Alzheimer's victims, its filing (and the evidence it presented) played a major role in persuading the FDA to approve Tacrine as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease.


Fighting For Individual Citizens

Another example is our legal program to help companies, clinics, and individuals who have felt the brunt of a system that operates for the benefit of the large pharmaceutical companies.

The Foundation provides legal advice and services, and political and psychological support for the victims of FDA tyranny. We know better than anyone how utterly devastating an FDA raid can be, and do everything we canto help the victims of this kind of abuse.


Standing Our Ground

Informing The Public At All Costs

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The final tactic in our war against the FDA was to stand our ground on the actions that caused the FDA to attack us in the first place. These include making claims (based upon scientific evidence) for therapies that have yet to be approved by the FDA, and telling people how, where, and for how much they can obtain these therapies.


The Critical Decision

Our decision to continue providing accurate information about therapies for health and longevity was at the core of our struggle with the FDA. By refusing to back down on the principles that the FDA attacked us over, we made it clear that nothing could sway us from the pursuit of health, longevity, and physical immortality.

This stand is at the heart of what, ultimately, turned the tide against the powerful and wealthy forces we were up against.

The FDA Strikes Back

In the summer of 1989, an ex-employee told us she had received a subpoena, which would force her to testify before a Grand Jury in Florida. She had been told that the Grand Jury was investigating Saul Kent, William Faloon and The Life Extension Foundation. We soon found that the FDA had referred our case to the U.S. Attorney's Office, which had convened a Grand Jury to seek a criminal indictment against us!

During the rest of the year, subpoenas were sent far and wide in a massive "fishing expedition" for witnesses who might provide testimony that could be used against us. The search for such witnesses even led to scientists whose research we had funded.

The vast majority of these witnesses had little or nothing to tell the Grand Jury, but the FDA continued to send a parade of witnesses to the stand in the hope that they would, eventually, strike paydirt against us.

The Second Grand Jury

When the Grand Jury ran its course (18 months) without indicting us, the case was transferred to a second Grand Jury, which began to call witnesses all over again.

Many of these witnesses, which included current Foundation employees, were terrorized by the Grand Jury process, which forced them to testify without counsel, and in some cases, subjected them to verbal abuse and fear that they might be a target of the "investigation".

For example, one of our longtime employees, Ursula Arias, was called a liar repeatedly by U.S. attorney Alan Sullivan because she wouldn't admit that the purpose of her vacation trip to Europe was to further some nefarious mission that we had put her up to. Ursula was not only abused verbally for her entirely truthful testimony, but she also had her passport seized! She has yet to get it back!

The enormity of the tax-dollar waste of these multiple grand jury sessions is hard to imagine. The federal government spent enormous sums of money interrogating everyone we had ever had contact with. There was no limit to what the government would spend to get us indicted on "something."


The Raid In Arizona

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While the FDA was squandering huge financial resources to find a "crime" to indict us on, they simultaneously raided the company in Arizona that was selling many of the products we were recommending to our members.

At the beginning of 1991, the FDA deceived the Arizona Board Of Pharmacy into thinking the nutrients you use every day are "unapproved new drugs", and that the sale of these "drugs" had to be stopped immediately!

So on Jan. 9, 1991, Pharmacy Board officials and FDA agents from California raided LEI without a search warrant and imposed an embargo on 42 of our most popular products, including Life Extension Mix and Coenzyme-Q10.

 

Effects Of The Embargo

By Saul Kent, President of the Life Extension Foundation

The immediate effect of the embargo was to paralyze our overall activities. Since the embargo was on highly popular products representing about 70% of the company's business, it was essentially shut down.

Life Extension Takes Action

As soon as we heard about the embargo, we began to take steps to fight it. I flew to Arizona to help retain a local law firm to work with The Foundation's attorneys in Washington, D.C. in an attempt to obtain a court order to overturn the FDA's actions. What follows is a quote from the April 1991 issue of Life Extension Report, which describes the systematic defense that was mounted against the FDA.

"A thick, well documented lawsuit was prepared to block the FDA-imposed embargo....The research, investigation, and writing that went into this lawsuit involved 7 attorneys and a private investigator in 3 different states working for 12 straight days. It was an unprecedented effort.

"While the attorneys worked on the legal basis to challenge the FDA's gestapo-like action, The Life Extension Foundation gathered medical testimony to prove that these nutrient products were safe and effective. Because of our close ties to the scientific community, we were able to obtain sworn Affidavits from first-rate doctors and researchers about the value of the embargoed products. Hundreds of pages of scientific evidence were attached to the lawsuit to document the safety of the products and the mechanisms by which they improve health and prevent disease."

Victory In Arizona!

Arizona Flag

Fifteen days after the embargo had been imposed, one of our attorneys strolled into the Arizona Attorney General's Office with a 300-page lawsuit in hand. He told the Attorney General about the illegal actions taken to impose the embargo, and warned that-if action wasn't taken immediately-he would be filing the lawsuit that afternoon.

The Attorney General's reaction was swift and definitive. He ordered the Pharmacy Board to lift the embargo and decreed that any further action by the Board would require adequate notice to the company. In a later discussion, the Pharmacy Board Director acknowledged that his agents had been duped by the FDA, and that they would never again take action against any company without first investigating the matter themselves.

After our victory in Arizona, no civil enforcement action was ever again taken against The Life Extension Foundation, or any of its affiliated companies!


Terrorism Against Kent And Faloon

Instead, the FDA threatened to indict Kent and Faloon on "criminal charges" and to throw them in jail without bail on Oct. 1, 1991!

Kent and Faloon were told-in no uncertain terms-that on Oct. 1st, they would be hit with a massive, multi-count criminal indictment that would be followed by other multi-count indictments, which would, in effect, "destroy their lives forever" and that their only hope of avoiding lifelong imprisonment would be to plead guilty to "crimes against the state" and voluntarily go out of business!


Life Extension Hits Back

In response, we filed a lawsuit against the FDA in U.S. District Court in Florida seeking a declaratory judgment and injunction prohibiting the FDA from selectively prosecuting us in a discriminatory manner. By filing this lawsuit, we served notice that nothing the FDA could do would intimidate us! Our resolve to continue our war against the FDA was discussed in the November 1991 issue of Life Extension Report:

"The Life Extension Foundation will not back down from FDA pressure of any kind because we are motivated by far more than our right to make a living. The Foundation has more ambitious goals and higher principles than the FDA and the medical establishment for which it stands. The Foundation will win its war against the FDA because we are right; because the American people are behind us, and because the FDA is guided by political expediency."

The lawsuits we filed against the FDA involved hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and thousands of hours of work. They included lawsuits to force the FDA to return our illegally seized property, to grant us our due process rights, to answer our freedom of information requests, to stop treating foods as "drugs", to stop selectively prosecuting us, to stop violating our constitutional rights, to protect the right of Americans to import unapproved drugs, and to force the FDA to approve Tacrine for Alzheimer's disease. As we put it in our newsletter:

"The Foundation's lawsuits against the FDA represent the most ambitious attempt in history to challenge an oppressive government agency in the courts. The lawsuits are unprecedented in their scope, legal analysis, philosophic content, and moral authority. Collectively, they represent a critical challenge to the U.S. legal system, which is being asked to stand up for the principles upon which this nation was founded."

The Arrest And The Indictment

On the morning of Nov. 7, 1991, we were arrested and taken into custody at the federal court building in Fort Lauderdale. We were photographed, finger-printed, and taken to a jail cell to await arraignment. The jail was a fenced-in 8-by-8-foot cubicle that contained two hard benches, a toilet (without a seat), and a small sink. We shared the cell with several men charged with drug-related offenses who were also facing arraignment that day.


The Arraignment

At 2:30 pm, we were brought into court (handcuffed to other prisoners). A few minutes later we stood before magistrate Snow. She told us we had been indicted on 28 criminal counts including engaging in a "conspiracy" to sell "unapproved drugs", "prescription drugs", and "misbranded drugs".

Bail was set at $825,000 each. A bail bondsman who we had secured earlier was present to work with our attorneys to execute a bond that would enable us to go free that day.

Magistrate Snow set the following conditions on our release. We would have to report by phone to Pretrial Services every two weeks and pay a visit in person once a month. We were permitted to travel in the U.S., but only if we informed Pretrial Services (at least 24 hours prior to leaving) where we were going and how long we would be away from home. We were not permitted to travel outside the continental United States.

After the arraignment, we were led back to our cell (again in handcuffs chained to other prisoners), where we were kept another two hours until we were finally released from custody at 5 pm.


What We Were Up Against

After we left the building, our attorneys told us that if we were convicted on all 28 counts in the indictment, our maximum penalty would be 84 years in prison and a seven million dollar fine! They also told us the FDA's "investigation" of our activities would continue indefinitely, and that we could expect additional multi-count criminal indictments in the future!


We Refuse To Back Down

The indictment dealt with the fact that-in the mid 1980s-we told Americans how to obtain unapproved drugs from two overseas companies: The Longevity Institute in Panama and The Hauptmann Institute in Austria. We offered this information because of evidence that the drugs could help people live longer, and because the FDA had (and still has) a policy permitting the importation of unapproved drugs for personal use.

After the indictment, we continued to provide Americans with information about therapies from around the world. We weren't about to back down from the very real threats we were now faced with!


Life Extension Fights Back

Since we had now been branded "criminals" by the government (and had to face the prospect of additional criminal indictments), it was clear that we truly had the fight of our lives on our hands!

First we stepped up our political activities by asking our members to protest the FDA's indictment against us to their congressional reps.

Then we placed full-page ads in South Florida newspapers, attacking the FDA for restricting the flow of information about health and longevity, and accusing them of contributing to the deaths of millions of Americans.

Finally, we started filing Motions to attack the legal and constitutional foundations of the indictment.


Motions To Dismiss The Indictment

In the Spring of 1992, we filed a Motion asking for dismissal of the indictment on the grounds that the FDA had illegally obtained their search warrant, and had then illegally seized vast numbers of items not on the search warrant.

We then filed another Motion to dismiss the indictment on the grounds that we were being prosecuted selectively because the FDA was openly permitting organ-izations such as AIDS Buyers Clubs to engage in acts far more violative of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act than anything we were alleged to have done.


The FDA's Reveals Its Illegal Actions

We were granted hearings before magistrate Snow on both these Motions. At these hearings, we presented powerful evidence of illegal and constitutional actions on the part of the FDA, and revealed the ignorance and shockingly immoral behavior of one FDA employee after another.

FDA enforcement officer Martin Katz admitted he had committed perjury in writing up the Search Warrant, and that he had tried to intimidate a radio talk show producer into keeping us off the air. Katz' partner, Roy Rinc, admitted he had threatened to put our printer out of business if he didn't "cooperate" with the agency, and that he believed he could seize anything at all from us, whether it was on the Search Warrant or not.

Higher FDA officials testified that the FDA actively encourages its agents to ignore Search Warrants during raids, and that the FDA deliberately avoids defining any of its "rules", "regulations", or "policies", so that it can interpret them in any way it wishes, or ignore them completely if it suits their purpose.


Beating Up On The FDA

Although magistrate Snow ultimately ruled against us on both Motions, the two hearings helped us immensely in our struggle against the FDA.

They forced us to begin constructing a powerful defense that could be used at trial. They enabled us to obtain hard evidence of the corruption and immorality of the FDA. And they helped us buy precious time to search for key witnesses, while the FDA's case gradually began to wither away.

The most valuable benefit, however, may have been the opportunity to beat up on the FDA. During both hearings, our attorneys hammered away at one FDA witness after another with difficult, spirit-sapping questions that must have been quite demoralizing for the agency. It was exhilarating for us to able to give the "bully boys" a taste of their own medicine!


Unrelenting Intimidation

During this period, rumors of new FDA raids were heard every week. The FDA constantly threatened to bring waves of new indictments against us that would bankrupt the Foundation and result in us spending the rest of our lives in prison. And our printer was threatened with the seizure of his presses if he printed any more "illegal literature" for us.

The FDA was involved in a vicious campaign of psychological state-sponsored terrorism. The fact that such acts continue to this very day against other innocent Americans is a flagrant violation of basic human rights.

Despite the ongoing threats, we continued to make our products available to our membership, with our attorneys saying it would only aggravate our already hopeless legal position.

In 1992, we introduced the synthetic pineal hormone melatonin in the United States. Our supporters were shocked that we would openly sell a hormone when the FDA was already seeking to destroy us in every way possible. The supplement industry was convinced that the FDA would never allow melatonin to be sold, and we were the only ones who had the courage to sell melatonin in the United States!


The Tide Begins To Turn

One of the first signs that the tide was beginning to turn came in 1992 when we won our lawsuit to have the items seized illegally by the FDA returned to us. While the nutrient products the FDA had been storing at a warehouse since 1987 (at taxpayer expense) were spoiled by then, it was very encouraging to win a victory over the FDA in court.

Even more encouraging was the fact that the judge ordered the FDA to pay our attorneys' fees for unreasonably holding on to our property. This made it more than just a symbolic victory. Our spirits were buoyed considerably by this award, which further demoralized the agency.


The FDA Starts To Crack

An even greater sign that things were beginning to turn our way also occurred in 1992, when the FDA offered us a deal to settle our case. We were told that most of the charges against us would be dropped, and that we might avoid going to prison entirely, if we would just plead guilty to one or two of the charges against us and agree to submit totally to FDA authority. Moreover, we were told that-if we refused the deal-we would be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and that we would have to face waves of new criminal indictments.

Although the proposed deal was a major concession that would have tempted most defendants, we didn't hesitate. We replied that we had no intention of giving in to the FDA, that we were totally innocent of any wrongdoing, and that we would continue to provide Americans with lifesaving information, even at the risk of being thrown into prison for life!

This was the first of several "deals" proposed by the FDA, each one followed by a threat that never materialized. Every new deal was better than the previous one, which told us that the FDA was beginning to crack under the pressure we had been submitting them to.


The FDA HOLOCAUST MUSEUM

In 1994, we established the FDA HOLOCAUST MUSEUM where we documented the 70-year reign of terror that the FDA had perpetrated against Americans. We showed the FDA's corrupt practices were causing needless suffering and the deaths of millions of Americans every year. We received international media coverage on the museum showing that even the prospect of lifetime incarceration couldn't stop us from telling the truth about the FDA!


More FDA Threats

In 1995, the FDA made even more serious threats against us. They said they had new evidence that would enable them to incarcerate us for life, and that they were on the verge of seizing every penny we had!

It is hard to describe the psychological effect of this unrelenting government pressure. Historically, the FDA has destroyed its opponents through this type of illegal intimidation, thereby maintaining a dictatorial grip on the practice of medicine in the United States.

We knew that capitulation was the easy way out, but that it would mean an end to our lifelong goal of extending the human lifespan. We vowed to continue the battle no matter what. Contingency plans were made to continue publishing our newsletters from prison if necessary.


The Realities Of Going To Trial

We were confident we could win our case in court, but dreaded the time and expense of going to trial. By then, The Foundation was rapidly growing, we were again funding life extension research, and it was hard to get into the mindset of preparing for a trial that we knew was an absolute farce.


The Trial Approaches

In mid 1995, the FDA was pushing to bring the case to trial. We had a trial date that might not be possible to postpone, and the FDA had an 88-year history of never giving up on any enforcement action, especially a criminal indictment against a political opponent!

We were then offered a deal to guarantee that we would not go to prison, and that it might even be possible for us to remain in business in some limited capacity. But, by then, we had come to the conclusion that any admission of guilt would irreparably compromise our principles, which would significantly hamper our quest for an extended human lifespan.

So we dug our in our heels and went after the FDA again by having our attorneys file a battery of new legal motions, by escalating our political attacks on the agency, and by spending more and more of our time preparing for a trial that would require our total concentration for months as well a great deal of our money.

 

The FDA Caves In

By Saul Kent, President of the Life Extension Foundation

As it turned out, our "dread" at going to trial was mild compared to the FDA's horror at facing us in court! By the end of 1995, the FDA and the U.S. Attorney's Office no longer had the stomach to fight us. In short, they figured they would lose and that the process of losing would be an extremely unpleasant experience!

But they still weren't ready to give up completely. In November 1995, the FDA asked Judge Hurley to drop every charge against us, except one. They still intended to prosecute me for "obstruction of justice"-a charge that had absolutely no merit, but had the apparent virtue of being easy to prosecute.

We then concentrated our efforts on this charge. We interviewed the witnesses the FDA planned to bring against me, and it turned out that the FDA had no case, but was holding on to this charge in the hope that I might be convicted of "something".

In February 1996-exactly 9 years after the FDA launched its brutal attack on The Life Extension Foundation-the U.S. Attorney's Office filed a motion to dismiss this final count.

It is difficult to calculate the total cost of the FDA's war against The Life Extension Foundation because the costs have been so high and so many of the them have been hidden from view.

The first and most obvious costs have been the millions of dollars spent by both sides in fighting the war. In 9 years of combat, we were forced to spend about 1.3 million dollars for legal fees, private investigator fees, expert consultant fees, and travel.

There's no telling how much the government spent on our case, but everything points to the fact that they spent much more than we did. In fact, the raids themselves (against The Foundation and Life Extension International) were extremely costly, involving months of preparation and dozens of law enforcement personnel from different agencies.

Other Enforcement Agencies

At various stages of the "investigation", almost every U.S. law enforcement agency was involved, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), the Justice Department and its prosecutorial arm the U.S. Attorneys Office, and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These costs have to be added to the large ongoing costs (salary, support staff, and expenses) of FDA agents such as Martin Katz, who worked on the case for nine long years!

The Grand Jury Investigations

Then there were the costs of carrying out the two Grand Jury Investigations, each of which lasted about 18 months. Among these costs were: funding for several government prosecutors and their staff, funding for FDA attorneys and agents, payment and transportation costs for 22 grand jurors for almost 36 months, and the huge costs of finding, interviewing, and paying for the travel expenses of a large number of witnesses from the U.S. and abroad, most of whom had absolutely nothing to tell the Grand Jury.

The Hearings

There were two major hearings on Motions we filed to get the case dismissed as well as other shorter hearings-all of which involved the time and expenses of dozens of FDA attorneys, agents, officers, and their support staff, as well as the prosecutorial costs of the U.S. Attorney's office.

Perhaps the single largest cost came from the efforts of FDA Commissioner David Kessler to avoid testifying at our Selective Prosecution hearing. Kessler was a material witness whose testimony could have provided critical evidence that the FDA was prosecuting us unfairly. Kessler ordered FDA attorneys to file numerous legal briefs on his behalf (at taxpayer expense), including an emergency appeal (flown down by private jet) to the Court of Appeals in Atlanta, which saved Kessler from having to testify at the eleventh hour.

Derailing Life Extension Research

As large as the above costs were, they were minuscule in comparison to the much larger costs of the life extension research that remained unfunded and the life extension therapies that remained undeveloped because of the FDA's war against The Foundation.

The FDA raid in February 1987 forced us to stop our PROJECT 2000 program to achieve a major breakthrough in aging by the year 2000 just as it was gaining momentum. The March 1987 issue of Life Extension Report, which was seized in the FDA raid, featured an indepth report on the life extension scientists we were funding at the time.

The Research We Were Funding

At the time of the raid, we had already donated $790,000.00 to the PROJECT 2000 Research Fund, and had awarded a total of $380,000.00 in grants to research projects conducted by eminent scientists. Among these were the following:

  1. The Effect Of Fetal Thymus Gland Extract On Immune Function and Lifespan In Mice - Roy L. Walford, M.D., UCLA Medical Center.
  2. The development of the genetically-engineered SOD Transgenic Mouse to determine whether extra superoxide dismutase can slow down the aging process - Richard Cutler, Ph.D., National Institute On Aging.
  3. The effect on aging of the Transplantation of Brain Tissue from young animals into old animals - Don Ingram, Ph.D., National Institute On Aging.
  4. The Effects Of Thymus Hormones On Aging - Allan Goldstein, Ph.D., George Washington University Medical School, Washington, D.C.
  5. The Effect Of Tryptophan Restriction On Neuroendocrine Aging- Paul Segall, Ph.D. and Paola Timiras, Ph.D., University Of California At Berkeley.
  6. Analysis Of The Chemical Responsible For The Loss Of Protein Synthesis With Advancing Age - George C. Webster, Ph.D., Florida Institute Of Technology.

The Foundation had donated the money to fund these projects and others over a period of 14 months, with the fund growing at an ever-increasing rate as The Foundation grew in size. We had every reason to believe that our funding for research would continue to accelerate indefinitely-when we were suddenly stopped cold by the FDA raid!

Time Lost

It wasn't just the money needed to fight the FDA that derailed our research program, but the enormous amount of time we spent-month after month-year after year-for nine interminable years, fighting for survival against a powerful government agency backed by the medical establishment. There is no adequate way to measure the thousands of hours we spent on this case: going through files, writing memos, doing legal research, going to conferences, reading briefs and motions, attending court hearings, speaking with expert witnesses, and preparing to testify.

The enormous time we had to spend fighting for our lives had severely detrimental effects on our business. It was extremely difficult to manage our affairs, find and develop new products and therapies, and attend to the myriad details of running an organization.

What Was Lost

It's hard to calculate how much was lost because of the FDA war against us, but it's safe to say it was a great deal. We feel that-by now-we would have been investing millions, perhaps tens of millions, or even hundreds of millions of dollars a year in breakthrough life extension research; that we would have already succeeded in achieving our PROJECT 2000 goal of a major lifespan-extending advance; and that we'd now be well on the way to our PROJECT 2020 goal of total control over aging by the year 2020.

This is an enormous loss...far greater than the mere money expended in fighting the FDA. It is a loss that will be felt by millions of people worldwide, who will die prematurely because of delays in developing the kind of breakthrough life extension therapies destined to have a revolutionary impact on human life in the 21st century!

Making Up For Lost Time

There's no point in crying over what was lost. The fact that we've emerged victorious in our war with the FDA gives us a new opportunity to make up for lost time. In the last few years, we've begun to fund research again-at our 21st Century Medicine facility in California and at other research centers around the country. You'll see more about this research in future issues.

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