- The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on
the Central American Free Trade Agreement in the next two weeks, and one
little-known provision of the agreement desperately needs to be exposed
to public view. CAFTA, like the World Trade Organization, may serve as
a forum for restricting or even banning dietary supplements in the U.S.
- The Codex Alimentarius Commission, organized by the United
Nations in the 1960s, is charged with "harmonizing" food and
supplement rules between all nations of the world. Under Codex rules, even
basic vitamins and minerals require a doctor's prescription. The European
Union already has adopted Codex-type regulations, regulations that will
be in effect across Europe later this year. This raises concerns that the
Europeans will challenge our relatively open market for health supplements
in a WTO forum. This is hardly far-fetched, as Congress already has cravenly
changed our tax laws to comply with a WTO order.
- Like WTO, CAFTA increases the possibility that Codex
regulations will be imposed on the American public. Section 6 of CAFTA
discusses Codex as a regulatory standard for nations that join the agreement.
If CAFTA has nothing to do with dietary supplements, as CAFTA supporters
claim, why in the world does it specifically mention Codex?
- Unquestionably there has been a slow but sustained effort
to regulate dietary supplements on an international level. WTO and CAFTA
are part of this effort. Passage of CAFTA does not mean your supplements
will be outlawed immediately, but it will mean that another international
trade body will have a say over whether American supplement regulations
meet international standards. And make no mistake about it, those international
standards are moving steadily toward the Codex regime and its draconian
restrictions on health freedom. So the question is this: Does CAFTA, with
its link to Codex, make it more likely or less likely that someday you
will need a doctor's prescription to buy even simple supplements like Vitamin
C? The answer is clear. CAFTA means less freedom for you, and more control
for bureaucrats who do not answer to American voters.
- Pharmaceutical companies have spent billions of dollars
trying to get Washington to regulate your dietary supplements like European
governments do. So far, that effort has failed in America, in part because
of a 1994 law called the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. Big
Pharma and the medical establishment hate this Act, because it allows consumers
some measure of freedom to buy the supplements they want. Americans like
this freedom, however - especially the health conscious Baby Boomers.
- This is why the drug companies support WTO and CAFTA.
They see international trade agreements as a way to do an end run around
American law and restrict supplements through international regulations.
- The largely government-run health care establishment,
including the nominally private pharmaceutical companies, want government
to control the dietary supplement industry - so that only they can manufacture
and distribute supplements. If that happens, as it already is happening
in Europe, the supplements you now take will be available only by prescription
and at a much higher cost - if they are available at all. This alone is
sufficient reason for Congress to oppose the unconstitutional, sovereignty-destroying
- Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from