Thursday, June 19, 2008

We Have The Wrong System

What if, just for taking vitamin C, you could be thrown in jail for up to 2 years and fined up to $5,000,000?

That scenario could very well soon become a reality in Canada. The Canadian Government is trying to pass a bill known as Bill C51. According to some interpretations of the bill, it would remove all supplements from over-the-counter availability, by only allowing MD’s to prescribe them as they see fit.

This would mean that if you wanted to take a multivitamin, you would have to book an appointment with your doctor and try to convince your doctor that you are in need of these supplements. If your doctor decides a certain drug would be better for you, then you won't have access to your supplements anymore.

Consequences of the bill could include:

No more supplement stores
Supplements made illegal unless obtained through a prescription; 70 percent of all current supplements on the market could be removed
Fines of up to $5,000,000.00 and/or 2 years in jail per incident of being caught breaking this law.

Now the question to ask ourselves here is WHY would this bill be considered, let alone passed?

The answer has 2 perspectives so let's consider each...
If our government has our best interests at heart, than the answer must be quality control and preventing the uninformed consumer from self-medicating and potentially harming themselves. This makes sense from a consumer perspective, but it violates the choice and competition we associate with a free market economy so we will have many grateful citizens (who feel protected), yet many angered citizens who feel their health care is being run like a profit venture and not what it should be. In short, the bill doesn't make clear sense for the consumers.

If the answer is protecting revenue sources derived for doctors through prescriptions, and revenue sources for the government through taxing prescriptions, than the bill makes perfect sense for the supplier side of the equation.

We have spoken here on swim upstream on the backwards "treatment-prevention" approach to health care where we only see our doctors if something is wrong. The Chinese typically see their health care providers when things are going right to see what they can do to keep it up.

As consumers, if we keep treating our doctors as drug peddlers ("I need something to make me feel better") we empower them to profit off of disease and to treat us as the rats we are. We hand a monopoly to them on a silver platter and we pay the consequences through means like bill C51.
If we go to them with prevention in mind, we retain an element of choice ("I don't NEED their help, I'm asking for it, so I won't allow their specific brand of high priced supplements to be forced down my throat"). Choice is what keeps a free market economy acting like it was designed to, and exactly what prevents extreme measures like closing supplement stores so that the government can dictate what we're allowed to take for our health.

If you aren't pissed off at the prospect of the government going into your medicine cabinet pre-emptively, you're not getting it- this affects you at the highest level. Go see your doctor BEFORE you have to, and if you have never written your MLA before, this might be what prompts you

or you can wait for the hammer to fall and then complain after the fact to no avail

Read on (just 4 of 124,000 Google links that came up, starting with the legal interpretation)...

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