Saturday, April 16, 2005

Supplements and Laws

"A fantastic day for health freedom!" That was the leadoff sentence of an e-mail I received from the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) last week. And while the news in the e-mail was certainly good, I think it's premature to uncork the champagne just yet. In several alerts over the past couple of years I've told you about the European Union (EU) Directive on Dietary Supplements that aims to reclassify vitamin and herbal supplements as medical drugs, mandate low dosage levels, and outlaw many supplement ingredients that are currently widely available. This directive is scheduled to go into effect this coming August. But now...maybe not. The ANH and several other European organizations challenged the directive in the European Court of Justice, and last week an advocate general ruled that the directive infringes on "basic principles of Community law." He recommended that the directive should not become law. The court will issue a final decision on the recommendation in June or July. ANH officials are confident that the court will decide in their favor because the court's judges tend to agree with advocate general's rulings in most cases. So for the next three months the fate of the directive will hang in the balance. But even if the court gives the OK to the advocate general's recommendation, EU commissioners may rework and soften the directive and give it another try. So in spite of the celebratory tone of the ANH, this is, unfortunately, not a done deal by any means. I'll continue to watch this situation and keep you posted.

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