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Health Freedom Restored to New York

by Don Baker(more info)

listed in authority rights freedom, originally published in issue 5 - April 1995

Author's Introduction

On July 26, 1994, the New York State Alternative Medical Practice Act was signed into law, marking further progress for non-drug therapies in New York. Although much still remains to be done in New York and other states, the passage of such legislation in a state which has been a bastion of establishment medicine is another sign of progress. Elected officials are recognising the benefits of alternative medicine and beginning to understand the suppression of alternative therapies that has existed for so many years.

With the passage of this legislation, New York becomes the fifth state, joining Alaska, North Carolina, Washington and Colorado, to provide protection to medical doctors who include alternative, non-drug therapies among their treatment protocols. Specifically, the law provides: - Medical doctors cannot be prevented from using therapy, including those considered non-conventional, that effectively treats disease.

At least two members of the State Board for Professional Medical Conduct must be physician-practitioners of non-conventional medicine. – Non-conventional physicians will be allowed to testify as expert witnesses in misconduct cases.

. . . The new legislation in New York is a beginning. One estimate indicates that 80 to 100 licensed MDs in New York offer alternative therapies in their practice. Still more physicians (naturopaths and chiropractors) trained in herbalism and other natural approaches to disease prevention and mitigation are prevented from providing care due to a monopolistic system which prevents physicians other than MDs from dealing with most disease conditions. The new law does not address this problem. Naturopathic physicians are not allowed to practice in New York (the nearby states have passed legislation allowing naturopathic physicians to practice). Chiropractic physicians in New York are limited by law to primarily mechanical conditions related to the spine and are prevented from treating disease conditions that could respond to orthomolecular and biomechanical therapies. Thus, low cost and non-toxic therapies in New York will remain the exception in health care until public demand for freedom of choice in matters of health creates a system that can fully serve the citizens of the state.

One of the pivotal events in the collaborative effort to get this legislation passed was the address to the state legislature by a champion for alternative therapies. "Where Is Your Courage?" is the title of the speech given by Hon. Berkley Bedell, former U.S. congressman on 12/14/93 at the public hearings of the New York State Assembly's Committees on Higher Education and Health. It is presented here in its entirety.

"Mr Chairman, and members of this committee, I appreciate this opportunity to communicate to you some of my findings since leaving the United States Congress.

"I served six terms in the US House of Representatives from 1975 through 1986 as a liberal Democrat representing a conservative Republican district in Northwest Iowa. I believe I therefore have a unique appreciation of the problems facing legislators such as you, as you grapple with issues such as this.

"I left Congress because I contracted Lyme Disease from a tick bite. I was treated with conventional treatments three times; each day I had a strong injection into my vein for periods of three, four, and six weeks. Each time I would feel better for three or four weeks and then my symptoms would return. Finally, I turned to an unconventional treatment.

"Let me tell you about that treatment. There is a firm in Iowa that makes veterinary medicine by injecting killed germs into the udder of a cow, prior to the time that the cow has a calf. They then take the first milk that comes after the birth of the calf, which is called colostrum, and process it into whey, so it will keep. The theory is that the cow will communicate the disease to the unborn calf, and then develop in the colostrum what is needed to cure the calf of the disease it has contracted from the mother.

"I obtained some killed spirochetes that cause Lyme Disease. I took them to the firm that makes the veterinary medicine and they ran them through a cow. I took one tablespoon of the whey every hour while I was awake. My symptoms disappeared, and I clearly no longer have Lyme Disease.

"This treatment cost about $500 as compared to the approximately $26,000 that had been spent on my unsuccessful pharmaceutical treatments.

"After I left Congress I was also diagnosed with prostate cancer. Again, I went the conventional route. I had my prostate removed and had six weeks of radiation. When tests indicated that my malignancy was returning, I again turned to an unconventional treatment. I learned of that treatment from a scientist in Quebec, Canada.

"He claims that cancer has a tremendous affinity for nitrogen, and that it robs the immune system of the nitrogen it needs to function effectively. His treatment consists of an injection of a compound into one's lymph area; this floods the area with nitrogen, so that one's immune system can fight off the cancer. I went to Mexico where I purchased the medication, and, coming home, gave myself daily injections for two twenty-one day periods. That was 4 years ago, and all tests indicate that I no longer have cancer. That treatment cost me $600 as compared to over $10,000 which I calculate was the cost of the conventional treatment I had previously received.

"These experiences have caused me to spend my retirement hours in the investigation of alternative treatments for disease. I have been shocked at what I have found.

"Americans are repeatedly told that they are unable to make sound decisions about their own health and are therefore vulnerable to practitioners who would wish to take advantage of them. But I have found a group of dedicated practitioners and scientists who are working with findings that I believe hold great promise.

"They are stopped at every turn by a governmental bureaucracy that is opposed to everything except pharmaceutical drugs, and by state health boards and medical boards that consider anything new, not taught in medical schools, as quackery.

"Mr Chairman and members of this committee, I had no idea of the influence the international pharmaceutical companies have on the health care available to our people.

"At medical school, students are taught to use pharmaceutical drugs to kill germs and relieve symptoms.

"For continuing education, doctors go to seminars put on by pharmaceutical companies.

"Salesmen from pharmaceutical firms are constantly calling on doctors to inform them about new pharmaceutical drugs, and to give out free samples.

"Medical journals depend upon advertising revenues from pharmaceutical companies, and their editorial content reflects that fact.

"Colleges and universities get grants from pharmaceutical firms for research on drugs.

"Who can blame a doctor; a member of a board of health; and, indeed, even a legislator for believing that anything except pharmaceutical drug treatment is quackery. That is all the information we receive.

"But the sad fact is that whereas pharmaceutical drugs such as antibiotics are very effective for some communicable infectious diseases such as meningitis, pneumonia, and the like, they have not proven to be similarly effective for degenerative diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis (MS), and the like.

"Whether the medical profession and licensing boards are aware of it or not, the public realizes it. Just to be told that a member of your family has cancer, Alzheimer's, or MS. In fact, a recent study found that there were more visits to providers of unconventional therapy than to primary care physicians."
An A+ for public relations

"I come from a business background. I started a fishing tackle manufacturing business when I was in high school with $50 saved from my newspaper route. Today, Berkley and Company is one of the world's largest fishing tackle manufacturers. As a business person, I grade the international pharmaceutical industry with an A+ for public relations and marketing, and a D for performance of product for major degenerative diseases.

"If one has a product that is not very effective, it is greatly in your interest to keep everything else out of the market. The problem is, in this case we are not talking about fishing lines or golf clubs. We are talking about people's health.

"Are we going to let people be treated by non-toxic treatments that hold great hope, or are we going to let the international pharmaceutical industry maintain a monopoly with toxic medicines of limited effectiveness?

"Mr Chairman, I told you I am a liberal Democrat. I became a Democrat because I saw the abuse of power in corporate America. I became a Democrat because, among other things, I felt that the Democratic party was more supportive of the people as compared to big corporations.

"Now it breaks my heart that some of my Democratic colleagues in government seem to be on the side of the international pharmaceutical industry instead of the rights of the people.

"I do not think they mean to be on that side. I believe they have simply been incorrectly informed. By their desire to 'protect the people' they have been playing right into the hands of the giant pharmaceutical firms.

"Make no mistake, Mr Chairman, and members of this committee: there is a world-wide battle going on. It is whether the international pharmaceutical drug industry is going to be successful in maintaining a monopoly and prevent the use of lower cost non-toxic treatments.

"They have already succeeded in cutting back on the availability of over-the-counter vitamins and supplements in Europe and Australia. They are trying to do the same here in the United States. They have succeeded in selling their message to many members of the medical community and some members of government.

"But the people are not to be fooled. There is a growing army of angry people who are demanding a greater say in their health care. They have seen the limited effectiveness of conventional treatment for major diseases. In increasing numbers they are demanding the right to be treated by the treatment of their choice.

"It was not easy for me to come up here from Florida. I could be fishing in Naples Bay this morning. But someone has to point out what is happening. I care about the health care available to my friends, children, and grandchildren. I hope you do too.

"Alaska, Washington state and North Carolina have already enacted statutes that give the people greater freedom of choice by preventing the removal of a practitioner's license just because that person may be treating in a non-conventional manner. The legislation before you is a weak effort that goes part way towards that goal.

"My gosh, Mr Chairman and members of this committee, where is your courage? The public knows that current treatments for diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's, MS and the like are of limited effectiveness. Surely you do, too.

"I urge you to not just pass this legislation, but to show that the government of the great state of New York is as supportive of its citizens as are the states of Alaska, Washington, and North Carolina, by striking those weakening provisions that remove some of the protection those states have given to the freedom of choice for their people.

"How can we find better treatments if we say that a practitioner can lose his or her license for using anything other than treatments that do not work very well?

"Can anyone really believe that in America we should have policies that say in effect, 'If your allopathic doctor sends you home to die, you cannot be treated by a different doctor that has a treatment he or she feels might help you?'

"What a disaster for the American public."

The organizations responsible for this first step in New York will continue their work, begun with the Alternative Medical Practice Act, to guarantee full freedom of choice in matters of health for all the citizens of New York. The Foundation for the Advancement of Innovative Medicine (FAIM) must be given most of the credit for the New York legislation. FAIM spearheaded the effort and co-ordinated the participation of the many other organizations who supported the legislation. Among other organizations actively participating were Citizens For Health, Patients Have Rights, and HEAL.

As each victory is won, new challenges present themselves. New York will no longer allow a doctor to have tests done in laboratories outside the state of New York unless the New York state medical authorities approve of the out-of-state laboratory and their procedures. New York state laboratories are thereby protected from competition and patients can be denied life-saving tests that are available only outside New York. This is yet another new violation of our rights.

There are those who believe that the medical establishment in this country will not allow change until people at the grassroots level force the system to change. Indeed, it may be that the financial interests connected to establishment medicine and the related system of education for medical doctors are such that the system cannot change on its own. Kangaroo courts and hearing boards that disregard the testimony of people like Dr Linus Pauling, may continue to be the order of the day unless citizens continue to organize and demand freedom from this tyranny.

Reprinted with permission from The Family News Vol V No 11. Published by The Family News, 9845 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores, Florida 33138. $1.75.


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