Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Changes Coming To The FDA

Changes that could advance the role of nutrition in health. Changes that I welcome.

Selection Of Tom Daschle To Be New HHS Secretary May Signal Significant Changes
"Obama's choice for HHS Secretary, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, is sending chills up the spines of drug industry executives who have enjoyed years of effective decisional control at the FDA."

"In his position as HHS Secretary, Daschle will be able to make major changes at FDA. ... He might begin by obtaining the resignation of the present FDA Commissioner, Andrew Von Eschenbach."
Daschle is an advocate of "Alternative Medicine." (The future of the field however belongs to the concept of "Integrative Medicine", for which I'm certified. Where alternative medicine implies merely alternatives to conventional allopathic therapies, e.g. chiropractic is considered an alternative to drugs or surgery for back pain (and is often not covered by insurance); integrative medicine involves the integration of conventional and alternative therapies, e.g. chiropractic could be incorporated alongside drugs and surgery for back pain (and so would be covered by insurance). Another example of integrative medicine: nutritional support alongside chemotherapy for cancer treatment.)
"Tom Daschle was a key sponsor of legislation to create an Office of Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health, backed a White House policy initiative to explore complementary and alternative medicine, and was a primary Senate sponsor of the Access to Medical Treatment Act. The Access to Medical Treatment Act (AMTA) would have allowed patients who elected a treatment not approved by the FDA to obtain it upon being given fully informed consent. Although the bill did not pass, it suggests that Daschle is no patsy for big pharma."
It would be nice to see the FDA get involved in promoting, not censoring, nutritional information ... e.g. the role of the ratio of omega-3:omega-6 fatty acids in inflammation, or the role of potassium in high blood pressure. Right now, the FDA prefers instead to advance the use of patentable drugs.
"Although little is known about his opinion of FDA's prior restraint on the communication of nutrient-disease information, he may be far more amenable to ending that regime of censorship than continuing it, again recognizing that consumers benefit from greater access to health information about the role of foods and nutrients within them and disease."

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