Thursday, May 10, 2007

Vitamins As Illegal Drugs? Or Not?

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don’t have to waste your time voting.
- Charles Bukowski

I am currently reading Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, so this is a timely matter for me.

It seems that the FDA wants to classify all alternative medicine as actual medicine. So things like vitamins and herbal supplements would be considered drugs. And as drugs, must either be dispensed by a medical professional, or be illegal.

Here is some information about the FDA’s desire to make vitamins and other health supplements a “drug,” which must then be administered only by a licensed medical professional. AKA your local vitamin/natural remedies store? Will close, since the owners are not physicians.

And here is a link to send comments about the issue - supposedly the deadline has been extended to May 29.

This worries me. Oryx & Crake deals with a nasty look at the future which is (while probably sensationalistic) something that sounds plausible enough to be really scary. It’s similar to the way Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury) and Brave New World (Huxley) are scary because they are sci-fi which may one day not be sci-fi. None of the three are futures I want to live in.

I do not know if regulation might be good for the industry. It might be. It might not. But I currently have a very cynical take on government regulations and the added prices that come with that regulation. It may have a good intention, eliminating some of the “increased confusion” that come with the supplements. And - this is the part that I think might be good in execution rather than just in intention - they might regulate the supplements being shipped here from other countries.

But I write sci-fi fantasy. And I see in this real event many, many sci-fi plots. And fantasy plots. And soft-horror plots. And they all have disastrous (or nearly so) results for the average citizen.

I think that some happy medium might be best. Something in between what is being proposed and what currently is status quo. Something to safeguard us from being affected by a human-type version of the pet food scare, yet not something quite so Big Brother-ish as this is being publicized to sound. Yet in my experience, humanity is a lot better at overreacting than at moderation.

And so I worry. Do you?

In The Sink 03
No. I don’t worry. Come pet me, and then you won’t worry about anything, either.