Big Pharma and the FDA: Suppress the Science and Ban the Natural
June 23, 2009
In 2005, the pharmaceutical company Biostratum, Inc. made a mistake -- they invested millions of dollars into developing a drug, only to discover that the active ingredient, pyridoxamine, was a common, naturally occurring substance that has been sold for decades at low cost.
Biostratum responded by asking the U.S. FDA to declare supplements containing pyridoxamine “adulterated,” and effectively ban anyone but Biostratum from selling pyridoxamine. Earlier this year the FDA agreed to ban companies from selling pyridoxamine as a dietary supplement.
The FDA’s comment on the decision specifically says, “To allow such an article to be marketed as a dietary supplement would not be fair to the pharmaceutical company that brought, or intends to bring, the drug to market.”
Apparently, they were not as concerned about fairness to consumers.
This is hardly the first time the FDA has attacked naturally occurring substances. The FDA has banned information about scientifically proven health benefits of cherries from appearing on Web sites. And for years, the FDA barred health claims about the benefits of omega-3 fats for heart, cancer, depression, body pain, and various other conditions until a drug company paid a great deal of money to go through the approval process.
In the case of pyridoxamine, the FDA did not act out of concern for public safety. This is about a profit-seeking corporation taking advantage of corruption in what is supposed to be a public health organization.