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Letters to the Editor Issue 75

by Letters(more info)

listed in letters to the editor, originally published in issue 75 - April 2002

Mindless MMR – Dr Peter Mansfield Explains Why Single Vaccines Really Fell out of Favour

Throughout the rather hectic summer of 2001, during which I was at the eye of the MMR hurricane, one question puzzled me above all. What drove the Vaccines Group of the Department of Health, not just to supersede two vaccines after 20 years of excellent experience, but actually to withdraw them?

Two weeks ago I think I discovered the bottom line. But let's start at the beginning.

In the 1988 edition of its handbook Immunisation Against Infectious Disease the Department acknowledged the success of rubella and measles vaccines, introduced around 1970 and capable of giving 15 years or more of protection from a single dose. But it also announced the introduction of MMR. Why?

Almost certainly the manufacturers had become nervous about price. (Vaccines are not inherently expensive in a mass market, but patent protection and industrial secrecy keep the price up for the first 10 or 15 years.) The drive to go one better was to win patent protection for a further decade or two. What better than to combine two winners in one product? And then add mumps for good measure, which had not really caught on as a single product.

The market potential of any vaccine is vast, particularly when given to every child. The best sales teams in the world will have brought their skills to bear on Health Department buyers, probably luring them with the prospect of halving the time required for vaccination clinics. Whatever the reasons, they bought.

For a while then, the situation was this. If you went to a vaccination clinic supplied by your local public health department, you got MMR without the option. Dissidents could, however, consult their doctor and request separate prescriptions for rubella, measles and mumps vaccines or any combination they preferred. These could be dispensed at the local chemist for the doctor then to administer free of charge, funded by normal NHS channels. It respected the parents' right to choose and the doctor's freedom to practise on their behalf.

This arrangement persisted until the mid-nineties. I retired from the NHS in 1996, just when the national computer was being prepared to go on line. In the same year the current edition of Immunisation Against Infectious Disease was published, full of MMR, but noting that separate vaccines were still available.

However, within a year or so the Department suddenly withdrew the medical licences of the single measles and mumps vaccines, presumably to enforce the 'choice' of MMR. This was sufficiently unexpected that they left in the Medicines Act regulations a provision to cater for children caught half way through a course of the single vaccines. Their doctors were permitted to import doses under the 'named patient' procedure so that courses could be completed. This was clearly intended only as a temporary transitional measure.

Not only did the Department force the choice, it also began demonising single vaccines as less safe and effective, when all the evidence was by then the other way. It had been forced to introduce a second dose of MMR at school entry to make up for its lesser effectiveness, but its carefully worded PR 'hymn-sheet' studiously avoided admitting that.

Meanwhile, there were thousands of cases alleging damage from MMR after a decade (there were only 50 against single measles in 30 years). But it was the work of Drs Andrew Wakefield, Paul Shattock and others on a possible link with autism and bowel disease that created the public backlash against MMR and caused me to get personally involved again.

It was a clinic in Worcester that provoked the complaint to the GMC. It alleged, on no basis whatever, all the presumed misdemeanours a vaccinator can possibly display – too many needles, over-long intervals, dubious vaccines, defaulting parents. Uncritical adoption by the GMC made me go public, which quickly exposed the falsity of this. But in exonerating me last November the GMC suggested I mend fences with my accuser, so I called on him early in January.

The meeting was not friendly. He wanted to know how I proposed to notify him of vaccines given to residents of his territory. We had already notified every one, I told him, but most of the forms had been returned to us without explanation – by one of his functionaries apparently and without his knowledge.

His next admission made my jaw drop. His people were not using our information because they could not. The NHS computer could only record MMR: it could not cope with separate entries for rubella, measles and mumps given on different dates. To make matters worse, as most parents were sensibly postponing mumps vaccination for a few years to ensure coverage throughout their children's teens, almost nobody we have vaccinated singly could be credited with anything nationally!

The penny dropped later that evening. If the IT firm, contracted back in 1995 to install the NHS computer system, had not been briefed originally to allow for single vaccines, it could name its price when asked later to correct the oversight. That may have prompted a civil servant to call its bluff and try instead to outlaw the vaccines. A little money saved, but at the expense both of patient choice and doctors' independence.

Most GPs probably still have private software packages enabling them to record single vaccines, but they are also deterred by the way they are paid, and cannot in any case pass on the glad tidings to the national system. Consequently the national statistics do not include children vaccinated singly. We may already have achieved the holy grail of herd immunity, but have no means of knowing.

Public Health officials both could and should now admit the error, whatever it was, amend their computer system and re-license single vaccines. We have the perfect opportunity. The next quest for extended patent protection is due, adding chickenpox vaccine to MMR and calling it MMRV. The system will need amending and, for a modest additional fee, could cope with the single options too.

Dr Peter Mansfield was threatened with losing his medical licence in 2001 because he continued to allow patients to choose three separate injections rather than the controversial MMR vaccine.

This article first appeared in The Ecologist, Vol 32 No 2, March 2002.

Researching Therapist Burn-out

How often do we take care of ourselves?

We are all concerned as therapists about one thing ultimately; helping others. Whether we are lucky enough to be practising our therapy full-time or having to juggle it with other employment, we all have everyday concerns that deplete our energy; we need to take care of ourselves. How can we be able to offer others help as fully functioning therapists, if we are not taking care of our own health? We simply cannot give of our best.

Since I entered the world of complementary health, I have been more and more convinced that many therapists are not practising what they preach to their clients. As therapists we are lucky enough to be surrounded by healing in its various forms and yet few of us seem to be making sure that we benefit. We must be careful not to burn ourselves out in our demanding chosen professions. When you choose to be a healer in whatever form, you are giving of yourself in a profound way. It is important to protect yourself and keep yourself healthy in mind, body and spirit. I am concerned about this issue and am researching into it. I believe that we need to support each other in the vital jobs that we do in helping others. We must take the holistic approach and not segregate ourselves in our own fields of expertise, we are all striving for the same goal; to make life better.

I am keen to continue with my research because I believe it is very important and I intend to use it in a positive way to support the complementary health profession. I would be interested in any thoughts and opinions of fellow readers.

Ildiko Szeri Dip HCA AAPA
Ildiko2@btopenworld.com

EU Supplement Directive Cruel

What can one say? I have always believed that we all can make a difference. I cannot quite say why, but what the European Directive is trying – seemingly successfully – to foist on us makes me feel a little helpless. I shall not give up and am prepared to get out of my cozy home and go and be counted when required. I have written letters protesting and will continue to do so. Can someone though PLEASE explain to me why this is happening when thousands of people die each year of smoking related diseases (have these people ever visited a cancer ward/hospice?) and no-one as far as I am aware dies of taking supplements/herbal remedies etc. The logic escapes me – which is why of course I feel helpless.

Keep on talking and never give up one client said to me before he died. I'll try.

Lynn Grounds
Lynn.grounds@ntlworld.com

EU Supplement Directive

First, many heartfelt thanks for the excellent Mike Abrahams article re the deadly EC Supplement Directive. It really has at last made clear to me the influences of The Code Napoleon and the Food Manufacturers. RDAs only add what we can get in organic foods. As some under-eating surely is a way to longevity and health, we need supplements, a fact never mentioned in this debate! An orange can have 0 - 180 mg Vitamin C, the latter = 3 x RDA!

Also, this Directive is in breach of the Maastricht Treaty which stipulates the EU's duty to promote the prevention of disease, esp. the major scourges, in Title X (Public Health), Article 128. This must be stressed more now in our protests, I think. We must give examples of how the Directive stops prevention. The best example is that 400 lUs Vitamin E, in time, nearly altogether stops degenerative heart disease, the biggest killer. Risk reduction can be about 20 times after 4 years, over 75 times after 10, as cited by Dr Richard Passwater, 1960-1976 in 4 articles published in Prevention magazine from April-September, 1976.

I bet that was not quoted by the Harvard and UK Cambridge doctors who found 70-75% attack reduction in heart patients after 1.5 years only, too short a time for full effect! So they 'wisely' stopped there! Dr Morris Brown (they should never have made him Professor!) then said it would be 'irresponsible' to use Vitamin E for prevention, arguably the most irresponsible statement of the 1990s or the 20th Century!! Millions have died from Heart Disease 10 to 30 years before their time! It has been proven that a daily 50 mg dose of vitamin E, (> 3 x RDA), does not work for all important prevention! The first heart attack is mostly the last!

On reading these lists in Dr Abrahams' article I was shocked to see that boron, vanadium, nickel and one more we had succeeded to get on to that list last year are missing now! Are they really gone? I have also written to ask about what will happen to substances like lipoic acid, Coenzyme Q10 and RNA/DNA (my Lifeline for Pernicious Anaemia, unobtainable by Orthodoxy). In their book on nutrients in 1992 the EC stated categorically that these were in the body, so no supplements needed! And the EC aims to block all access to our amino acids! We must scream more about that!

I have heard from Ralph Pike in Sheffield that now so many emails and letters, especially derived from Dr Matthias Rath's efforts which are coming in to the MEPs that they can no longer run their offices! I find this a welcome wake-up call for these often dozy persons, but it has some negative effects, as also MEPs who are for us get irritated with Dr Rath, who otherwise is a splendid chap!

We must strive to make our voices heard to preserve our freedom to attain optimum health!

C. McFarlane PhD, Chem. ECNP
Newcastle upon Tyne

More on EU Supplement Directive


Here are my views for what they
are worth, and perhaps to some, controversial!
1.    Bottom line,  England does not have much power left now, and seemingly we are ruled by Brussels.
2.    We never had any complaints in the past about the levels or ingredients of nutrients in our nutritional products.
3.    My belief is that this long campaign by the authorities is well orchestrated, they can afford to be patient, but they ultimately want to stop the freedom of the individual to care for their health in the way they see fit.  So to me this is A HUMANITARIAN RIGHTS ISSUE!!
4.    I am concerned that so much has been going on behind the scenes, and yet we have seen nothing in the national newspapers?  I would have thought this would have made important reading for a majority of the health conscious British?
5.    I would have liked to have seen a much more vigorous campaign by your magazine, if only to keep printing articles on a monthly basis to get people to write to their MP’s etc.  Sure you probably have opinions that you cannot print,  you probably have information that you can’t print. 
6.    The article itself, I felt did get somewhat bogged down, with the lists of ingredients.  Also to me I did not think it was made clear just why Europe is instigating this directive, other than the excuse that if we are all the same we can trade between nations?  Who in England basically cares if a Company over here can trade with France or Spain.

 

So far the Health industry has seemingly been doing very nicely thank you by selling to the British Public. You may have noticed that prices are certainly not cheap here, and at times I think quite exorbitant.  One of course has to shop around.

What will the Brussels Sprouts turn their interest to next I wonder, once they have limited what vitamins and minerals we can consume, will they then start again on the poor herbs and all natural substances that are not routinely purchased in a supermarket.  I feel there is a lot of evil going on, yes I do feel very strongly about these terrible infringements to our rights.

The Drug companies have too much power, and money rules here.  We have been sold down the river totally in England not just on this issue unfortunately.  There may well have been some good rules and regulations from Brussels, but in the main they are out to destroy us.
Yours sad, disgusted, but totally willing to do whatever I can to support all the other people who care.

Jane Bellamy
vanadeux@eurobell.co.uk
www.vitamins-for-all.org/english/ default.html

Boron Expert re EU Supplement Directive


I have just read the article by Dr. Mike Abrahams in the latest issue of Positive Health and I agree with his comments. It seems as if the EU wants to deny us the right to look after our own health. My wife and I are both over 80 and we are in good health, thanks to the supplements that we take each day and the good food that we eat.

 

I am the one who forty years ago found that boron would help human health. Since then I have researched it thoroughly and this involved travelling around the world nine times, so as to visit those places that had more or less than the normal amount of boron in the soil or water. Because I had associated arthritis with a lack of boron I also visited those places that had more or less than the normal 20% with arthritis. There is a very definite inverse relationship with the prevalence of arthritic diseases and the level of boron in the soil, water and food. I have written the book Arthritis Without Drugs which tells all about it. I enclose a copy for you.

Boron should be classified as one of the essential minerals. It usually takes about 40 years for any new mineral to become classed as essential after it was discovered and that time is just about up. A simple boron supplement will correct better than 95% of all arthritic diseases. I have it made up into tablets and capsules with other minerals and vitamins that will all help people to feel better. because it is hardly feasible to put only 30 mg of borax into a tablet. Something else has to be added so as to make it a normal tablet size and these additional supplements are all useful for general health.
Would you please let Dr Mike Abrahams see this and the book. You might like to include something from it in a future issue.

Rex E. Newnham PhD DO ND
Specialist in Trace Minerals and Nutrition
Nr. Skipton North Yorkshire
Tel: 0756 730240


EU Supplement Directive

 

I would like to say that not everyone interested in health buys health magazines frequently (that includes myself.) Upon reading your magazine, I can see that many complementary health care practitioners would probably subscribe frequently.

I have been informed by a friend, that I do not have much time to write a letter and put my feelings forward to our MEPs the people who are representing us in Europe until 14th March.

Now here is my point!

Do you have any media contact! TV that can get the message regarding the EU directive information to the general public to let the ordinary person, know that they have a voice! and how to use that voice.

Their interest is ‘the right to choose the type of supplement/s, and source, and the right to continue to take responsibility for their health, and those they love’.

The layman are the product buyers, and they are not so stupid. They do know the fundamentals of herbs, and nutrition; in fact it is quite common place knowledge. Nutrient depleted soils etc. e.g. my own mother was a farm girl. We are just not being informed in the general news as to how to have our voices heard.

Have you seen any TV programmes, or talk shows, taking a line on this, to let us all know that we can write to our MEPs and get them to truly represent us! Just because we are not nutritionists, or therapists, does not mean than we are brain dead!.

We do not have our jobs or careers or incomes at stake, but we do have our health and that of our loved ones to protect!

Why has this information not got to the general public!

No disrespect to your magazine, or yourself. It has got the point across, but the coverage needs to be TV as well!

Any connections in that area!?????????

EXCUSE MY BLUNTNESS, BUT TIME IS IMPERATIVE HERE! It may even be too late! It makes me livid!

Jan McKenzie
Jan@bodylanguage.fslife.co.uk

The Editor Replies

Please continue writing and emailing us. We will forward all correspondence to Ralph Pike at Consumers for Choice who is presently resurrecting his Scientific Advisory Committee to collate information on supplements.
Sandra Goodman PhD
Editor

 

More: EU Food Supplements Directive


Letter sent to Health Food Retailers

 

You have been receiving information from your suppliers about the threats that we face over the coming years, and the message is mixed, to say the least.

As retailers, we believe that you should be aware of how these legislative threats will affect you from the retail point of view, and none other. The following are the simple facts about just three serious threats to your livelihoods:

This is a complex issue that can be broken down into three main areas of threat:

1.    Annex I will result in the removal of certain minerals from free sale. These will include boron, cobalt, sulphur, vanadium and all the other ultra trace minerals unless industry is prepared to spend a lot of money AND also gets permission from the EU to supply them.
2.    Annex II will result in the removal of nutrient forms from free sale. These will include chromium picolinate, chromium yeast, selenomethionine, selenium yeast, and dozens of other staple ingredients of our best selling products, unless industry is prepared to spend even more money AND also gets permission from the EU to supply them.
3.    The EU will set maximum permitted levels for vitamins and minerals in food supplements. Member States must agree these levels before they can be enforced. Out of the 15 current Member States, 12 of them regulate food supplements by RDA based internal legislation.

It is highly likely that this will be reflected in the levels set by the EU so, for example, the maximum level for vitamin C supplements is likely to be 60, 120, or 180mg per tablet (e.g 1x, 2x or 3x the RDA).

Simple mathematics demonstrates that the vote of 12 countries can out-vote 3 countries. In other words, for the UK to retain higher dose supplements, countries like Germany and France will have to accept levels that are far in excess of what they consider to be medicinal products. This is most unlikely to happen.
•    You will certainly lose some important minerals
•    You will certainly lose a lot of nutrient forms (e.g. perhaps selenomethionine)
•    You will almost certainly lose higher potency products

Novel Foods Legislation.
The Novel Foods Directive is already in force. Although designed to control genetically modified foods, it is being applied to absolutely everything sold under food law.

It means that any food product that wasn’t on the market within the EU before 15th May 1997 is classified as a novel food. This is not open to debate! This means that it cannot be sold until the EU has granted specific approval, after submission and consideration of a technical dossier.

Any product on the market that has not gained approval under these regulations is illegal. Once the authorities determine that a substance is illegally on the market they do not need to do anything – other than inform the relevant industry not to sell it any more. This has recently happened with noni juice, and before that, stevia. It is happening now with many other products, including MSM, SAMe, NADH and CMO.

We hope that MSM will survive the process, but doubt that the other three will. Remember that there is no appeals process, no battles to be fought. These products will be removed at the stroke of a pen – and the removal will be enforced. This has nothing to do with food safety – the sole consideration is whether the product was on sale within the EU prior to 15th May 1997. Full stop.

The ‘Traditional Herbal Products Directive’.
The first thing to understand about this directive is that it does not exist! Instead, there is a proposal to amend an existing directive that regulates
pharmaceutical drugs so that it will also regulate herbal products.

Without going into the gory details, the current proposals will remove the majority of herbal products from sale and ensure that only the very largest of
companies could place herbal products onto the marketplace.
•    The proposals would prevent any new herbs reaching the market. Ever!
•    The proposals would prevent the sale of herb/nutrient combinations. Ever!

The Pharmaceutical Directive itself.
Running in tandem with the herbal proposals on this directive, is another proposal to change the definition of a medicine, and to expand the scope of the directive.
•    The change in definition that is
proposed would mean that literally anything that could be eaten or drunk could be classified as a medicine.
•    The expansion of the scope of this directive that is proposed will result in the ability to classify anything as a medicine - whether it is already legally on the market as something else (i.e. a food) or not.

Conclusion
Next time you read or hear that there is nothing to be particularly concerned about, send the company responsible a copy of this letter and ask them to point out the factual errors.

Sadly, there are none, and as a retailer, you should all be very concerned indeed!

Concerned enough to help the NAHS fight for your futures?

National Association of Health Stores
Senior Scientific Advisor: Professor Arnold Beckett OBE PhD DSc FRPharmS
Associate Members of the NAHS
Absolute Aromas • Bee Health • Biocare •  Bioforce • Bional • Cambridge Probiotics • Country Life • Earth Force • Enzsana • Granovita • Health & Diet Herbal Health • Infinity Foods • Nature’s Aid • Nature’s Plus • Optima Health • Panda • Pharma Nord • Pharmadass • Premier Health Products • Pure Health Salus • Savant Distribution • Solgar • Specialist Herbal Supplies • The Health Store • The Green People • Vega • Viridian • Vitabiotics • York Nutritional Laboratories

EU Supplement Directive
I feel indignant that I will no longer have the freedom of choice to purchase food supplements in this country in the way that I can now. I wrote to my MP on the subject when the issue came to light three or so years ago, but did not receive the courtesy of an acknowledgement, let alone a reply. I will however be able to continue to purchase freely the following items which could do me a great deal of harm:
•    fireworks
•    cigarettes
•    alcohol
•    food contaminated with harmful chemicals and pesticides fluoride in toothpaste
•    and mercury in my amalgam fillings, to name but a few............

From what I read in Positive Health (March issue) there seems to be very little that I can do about it? It is also of concern that this matter has received hardly any media attention, apart from articles in your magazines. I asked a number of my friends if they were aware of this
directive. Only one of them knew about it and she had received the information from me.

Lesley O’Rourke
o-rourke@lineone.net


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