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FDA Moves to Ban Customized Curcumin, Others

FDA Moves to Ban Customized Curcumin, Others
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A proposed rule would eliminate many helpful, customized natural medicines. Action Alert!

Last week, the FDA released a proposal to prohibit more than a dozen natural medicines from being made at compounding pharmacies, which make customized medicines to suit the needs of individual patients. This is the latest action in a long series of maneuvers and attacks intended to cripple the compounding industry, whose products compete with expensive pharmaceutical drugs. We must fight back.

Here are the medicines the FDA has proposed to eliminate:

  • Acetyl-L-carnitine is naturally produced by the body, functions as an antioxidant, and promotes the production of glutathione in cells. It is used for Alzheimer’s disease, age-related memory problems, and a wide range of other conditions.
  • Aloe Vera is a plant that has been used medicinally as far back as the 16th century BCE. It is widely used in natural and traditional medicine for a variety of conditions, treating everything from burns to constipation, psoriasis, and herpes simplex virus.
  • Artemisinin is a compound found in sweet wormwood, an herb that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. It is most notably used to treat malaria, but it may also be helpful for tuberculosis and a host of other conditions. Considering the rise of drug-resistant TB, which is virtually untreatable and is sending conventional doctors into a panic, it would be lunacy to restrict access to this herb.
  • Astragalus is an herb used in Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties
  • Chondroitin Sulfate is a structural component of the cartilage in joints. It stimulates the production of cartilage, improves blood circulation to the joints, and is used to treat osteoarthritis, among other things.
  • Curcumin is a compound in turmeric with well demonstrated anti-inflammatory characteristics
  • D-Ribose is a natural ingredient for increasing energy (ATP) production. Evidence indicates that d-ribose can rejuvenate heart muscles after a heart attack or other cardiac events.
  • Deoxy-D-Glucose has exhibited anticancer and antiviral properties, but there is no mystery as to why it was voted down. It is currently being studied by a drug company as a possible drug, so the FDA is no doubt protecting the pharmaceutical company looking into the substance.
  • Domperidone has been useful for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease with minimal serious side effects.
  • Glycyrrhizin is used as an antiviral agent, especially for hepatitis. It does have to be used carefully under medical supervision, but in this case has been banned from prescribed medical use.
  • Nettle has a number of salutary effects. It was used by Roman soldiers to withstand the cold by stimulating blood circulation. It helps the body detoxify itself, alleviates allergic reactions, and promotes healthy blood circulation.
  • NAD (Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a vital compound involved in mitochondrial health and energy metabolism. As NAD levels decline later in life, mitochondrial function is impaired, resulting in various symptoms of aging. NAD is also an essential cofactor of certain key enzymes that are responsible for longevity. Every year we are learning more about how critical NAD is, including for cancer control.
  • Vanadyl Sulfate is an insulin mimic and a natural therapy for diabetes and insulin resistance. It is a form of a trace mineral found in mushrooms and shellfish.

Compounding pharmacies make customized, natural medicines for patients for whom it is difficult to swallow a pill (the elderly, children, and patients with disabilities, for example), as well as for patients with allergies, sensitivities to environmental contaminants and preservatives, or who require doses or delivery systems different than those of commercially available products. The ability of compounding pharmacies to function, thrive, and produce these supplements plays a crucial role in people’s lives.

The FDA has repeatedly demonstrated that it is unconcerned with the needs of these vulnerable patients. Time and time again, the FDA has proposed to reject the medicines for which there is little to no safety concern, like those listed above. It has long been our suspicion that the end goal is to eliminate the compounding industry altogether, and this is a devious way to do it—just whittle away at the ingredients that are allowed to be compounded, and it’s “death by a thousands cuts” for compounding pharmacies. Recall, too, that the agency is placing limitations on how many medicines traditional pharmacies can send out-of-state. And it’s all done to eliminate competition for major drug companies. We see this as yet another instance of the FDA putting the needs of Big Pharma over the health of the American people.

Action Alert! Write to the FDA, with a copy to Congress, insisting that these medicines continue to be available at compounding pharmacies. Please send your message immediately.

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