Is an Ounce of Prevention Worth More than a $49 Billion ‘Cure’? – Time for Government to Wake Up

Canada’s premiers concluded their annual conference on August 29 with a unanimous call for more funding from the feds to meet the growing demand for health care services. With an aging population and rising rates of chronic disease, provincial budgets are sinking into deficit. According to the National Post, Ontario currently allocates about $49 billion a year to health care, the highest area of spending in its $127.6 billion budget.

Back in 2012, the Conference Board of Canada had predicted this trend and offered a solution: “Canada is facing a growing burden from chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer. This burden is expected to increase due to an aging population and rising rates of obesity. The future health of Canadians depends not only on the quality of the health care system, but also on education about chronic disease risk factors and increased emphasis on prevention.”

So ‘health care’ is not really an accurate term for what politicians have been spending money on. In reality, it’s the black hole of disease management into which our tax dollars are being poured. To explain, Michael Downey reports this month on a commentary published in Nature, an American science journal: “Medicine, the report found, focuses almost entirely on fighting chronic diseases in a piecemeal fashion as symptoms develop. Instead, more efforts should be directed to promoting broader interventions that have the potential to prevent multiple chronic diseases and extend healthy life spans.” http://tinyurl.com/mr9eccq

With this in mind, one would expect all levels of government to start waking up and using every possible means to promote disease prevention and self health care in order to keep people out of hospitals and doctors’ offices. Embracing this new approach could mean inviting experts in the fields of nutritional medicine, herbalism, homeopathy, Chinese Medicine, naturopathy and more to teach people how to take charge of their health and improve their well-being. It would involve making nutritional supplements and health treatments tax deductible. This new paradigm in health care might also mean subsidizing organic foods while assigning a ‘fat tax’ to junk foods, so that it becomes cheaper to buy an organic apple than a hamburger. I suspect that this would decrease the rates of cancer, diabetes, and obesity almost immediately. And the savings to our health care system would be dramatic.

Ironically, even though these strategies would seem like a common sense approach to bringing down health care costs, the opposite is being done by Health Canada. In fact, this federal government body appears to be consistently thwarting efforts at disease prevention and drug-free health care by regularly banning natural health products from the marketplace, products that have been used for disease prevention and recovery for generations.

At the same time, Health Canada is allowing unsafe items into our food supply (see Shiv Chopra’s feature ‘Five Pillars of Food Safety’ http://tinyurl.com/ob6gjv7), and dangerous drugs to be prescribed by doctors as part of their health care protocols.

For more on the latest drug scandals, see the Toronto Star feature ‘Canadians Kept in Dark about Defective Drugs – U.S. Inspections of Canadian Drug Companies Reveal Systemic Problems that Have Put Canadian Patients at Risk.’ http://tinyurl.com/ozczwbn

The latest announcement from Health Canada is that they are banning Citronella, an essential oil that repels bugs. Citronella is used by consumers as a natural alternative to Deet (side effects of which include nausea, vomiting, hives, neurological damage, and death). In response to the news, Dr. Zoltan Rona commented: “Despite the fact that Citronella has been on the market without incident for several decades, Health Canada has decided to ban it for nebulous reasons. This despite the fact that some Health Canada scientists interviewed by the CBC have gone on record as saying that there were no problems at all with Citronella. Health Canada has a record of removing safe and effective products from the market over the past 10 years. Other notables banned by these morons include vitamin D (5000 IU capsules), DHEA, nattokinase, and tryptophan.”

This begs the questions – has Health Canada outlived its usefulness? Do we as citizens in a democracy have any power to influence the future direction of health care? I think we do. It’s just a matter of learning how to exercise that power collectively. For more on what’s being done, see below.

Julia Woodford

CHARTER OF HEALTH FREEDOM PETITION – Citizens’ Right to Choose

One of the more effective organizations to take on Health Canada in this struggle is the NHPPA (Natural Health Products Protection Association). By analyzing and leveraging proposed, or current, Health Canada regulations, and using higher laws found within our Canadian Charter and the Canadian Criminal Code, the NHPPA continues to explain to all Canadians the inconsistencies — if not violations — Health Canada’s regulations concerning our collective health freedom rights represent. This year, two successful action campaigns had members responding directly to their Members of Parliaments’ comments about the regulations and the Charter of Health Freedom. In April of this year the Charter of Health Freedom’s petition topped 93,000 signatures, setting it to become one the largest Canadian Federal petitions in the last 25 years. Lectures at natural health shows, webinars for practitioners, radio and print interviews, published articles, and personal support to citizens communicating with politicians has been a focus in 2014. Arming and empowering individuals every day increases the visibility of the issues and assists us in campaigning for those rights to be understood and protected by our Members of Parliament and our Senators.

Because of the fundamental health rights that Courts have recently denied us, and the systematic removal of products we rely on, it is more necessary than ever to remind the government that we are capable of making health decisions and having control over our own bodies. The NHPPA acknowledges the importance of past and ongoing participation from its supporters, both financially and in hours served, to continue the efforts in protecting access to health products and practices.

To learn more about NHPPA’s action campaigns, the Charter of Health Freedom petition, and material to support citizen engagement, please visit www.nhppa.org