Woodford Files—March 2011

On February 28 in the Globe and Mail, a report entitled Doctors Urge Health Care Action Plan to thwart ‘looming crisis,’ stated: “The Canadian Medical Association said Monday that public health care is in decline. Five million Canadians do not have a family doctor, emergency departments are congested, services for the mentally ill are lacking, and many patients cannot afford the drugs they need or a bed in long-term care when it is the best option.”

As the demand for health care increases in an aging population, this crisis will escalate. The provinces say that health care spending for drugs and hospital beds is already eating up a larger part of their budgets. I predict that this disease management approach (with drugs and surgery), which masquerades as ‘health care,’ will only find itself in more difficulty in future – to the extent that it becomes financially unsustainable.

With that in mind, citizens who choose to take responsibility for their own health are obviously a powerful asset to the community, since they pose little or no burden on the health care system due to their higher level of wellness. These are the people who invest in natural health products and services at their own expense in order to prevent illness or recover from it.

And yet, while provincial budgets struggle to meet the demand for public health care, federal politicians are throwing up tremendous obstacles to genuine disease prevention and recovery. Believe it or not, the feds are  working to severely restrict, or remove altogether, our access to the very health products that would keep us out of doctors’ offices and emergency rooms. What gives?

This month, Helke Ferrie takes a look at the big picture. And what we find is that, in order to grease the wheels for a free trade treaty with the European Union, the Canadian government has agreed to “harmonize” control of all our regulatory bodies with those of the EU, thereby creating a new world order which serves the interests of industry rather than those of citizens. (For example: In the EU, all Chinese, Ayurvedic, and indigenous herbal medicines will be banned from the European marketplace on April 1st. In Canada, at least half or more of the herbal medicines, vitamins, minerals, etc.  not approved by the Natural Health Products Directorate become technically illegal for sale on March 1st.) The biggest benefactors of this harmonized control will be multinational pharmaceutical giants, who seek “sole ownership of diagnosis and treatment” in order to create a vast marketplace for their products, according to Greg Schilab, editor of Nutrition & Health.

Fortunately, there are organizations working to defend our access to natural health products, including the Natural Health Products Protection Assn. here in Canada, and the Alliance for Natural Health in Europe. If ever there was a time to support these organizations, it is now. (Visit nhppa.org)

There is also a ray of light coming from the UK, which has a long tradition of herbs and homeopathics in their health care matrix. A report in the Daily Mail on February 17 stated that herbal medicines will survive in the UK marketplace, but only through health practitioners who sign up with a new registry of “practitioners supplying unlicensed herbal medicines.” Sadly, as of May 1st, citizens of the United Kingdom will no longer be able to buy herbal medicines directly from their health food stores.

Julia Woodford, Editor ~ Vitality Magazine