|Deepwide Reports > Vitamin B-17|
VITAMIN B-17 - WHY ARE DRUG COMPANIES SO AGAINST IT?
Because Vitamin B-17 is largely found in natural products, something which makes them shudder! Natural products can't be patented, unless they are first synthesised. This is the story of how one man was entrapped into selling Vitamin B-17 after it was made illegal. The large multinational chemical companies have once again shown their contempt for the 'little people' by pushing for the prosecution of a man who was 'stung' by BBC Wales, in a carpark, into providing them with some 'illegal' Vitamin B-17. The MHRA claim that Mr. Wright was taking advantage of "vulnerable people"! Obviously so vulnerable that they forgot to tell him they were employed by BBC Wales, who were perhaps trying to get their ratings up.
"After three years of apparent persecution by the UK medicines regulator, a Swansea man, Jim Wright, was yesterday criminalised by the Swansea Crown Court for selling vitamins and herbs.
Jim Wright had operated a small business selling natural health products for some years before being raided for the first time in May 2003, then again two years later, by the Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA). During these unannounced dawn raids, his stock was taken, thus preventing him from running his business. The vast majority of his stock comprised common garden herbal products the like of which can legally be bought from high street health food stores across the UK.
Emerging from the Court room, Wright said, ‘I think given the wealth of false evidence that was presented in Court, the whole thing’s been a total farce. Yet in the process they’ve managed to make me a criminal. The Judge gave me a £1000 fine, £1000 that I haven’t got, and 120 hours of unpaid community service. I was accused of selling products that I wasn’t selling and we even showed the Court that the supplier of vitamin B-17, as found in apricot kernels, was itself shut down by the US Food & Drug Administration on 30th September 2003. They found nothing in two raids on my house. I was set up.’
Wright, like others who had been selling vitamin B-17 up until it was made illegal in 2002, was made aware of the change in government policy and withdrew the product from sale. He had always made a point of complying with any advice or requests by the UK medicines enforcement agency.
In 2003, the MHRA worked with BBC Wales to entrap Wright. A women and her partner who, he was told, had a myeloma in the leg that had been operated on and that had subsequently spread, approached Jim Wright with a view to buying products that would help the cancer patient. The couple forced Wright to meet them in a car park on two separate occasions to deliver a range of natural health products. Wright thought this a most strange request, yet the customers were adamant this is how they wanted their products delivered. They filmed him covertly the first time, but on the second occasion, the cameras were revealed as he passed over the products. He was devastated to find the customers were really a BBC reporter and her perfectly healthy colleague.
Shortly after this, Wright saw himself on the BBC, being made out to be a criminal, despite the fact the products he was selling were 100% legal. About one week later, the MHRA raided him, confiscating all of his stock, and so handicapping his small business operation.
No legal proceedings followed, but Mr Wright’s stock was also not returned even after three requests. The enforcers went peculiarly quiet on Mr Wright.
Two years later, Wright received an order for vitamin B-17. Unknown to him, the order was from an MHRA enforcer who, posing as a member of the public, presented a heart-wrenching story about her husband dying of prostate cancer. The lady was very specific about her desire for vitamin B-17, that Wright was well aware had been banned some years earlier. Wright made it clear that he could no longer sell B-17 and had none in stock. After continuous pressure, however, Wright succumbed to providing a single pot that he still had in his home office that had been returned to him by a customer and that he hadn’t yet posted back to the original supplier in Mexico. He was given a mailing address that happened to be the accommodation address for the MHRA. On receipt of the product, a warrant was obtained the same day from Bow Street Magistrates and Wright was raided for a second time, in May 2005.
Speaking about this second raid, Jim Wright said, ‘They were hoping to find a big stash of vitamin B-17 – that was what they said they were after when they barged into my home. They of course found nothing. So they again took all my stock, all my accounts, a folder with all of my correspondence with the MHRA and another with thank-you letters and customer contact details. It was frightening – and deeply disturbing.’
Dr Robert Verkerk, executive director of the Alliance for Natural Health responded today to Wright’s sentencing, ‘The Swansea Crown Court Judge took the opportunity to condemn the natural products industry. He said the manufacturers of these supplements are exploiting people’s misery and making lots of money out of them. Jim Wright, he said, was a victim, and clearly hadn’t made a lot of money himself.’
Reflecting on the sentencing, Verkerk added, ‘To prey on someone’s intent to help others – to set them up like this – is astonishing and deeply unethical. Jim Wright and his family have been through hell and back – his business has been irreparably damaged, yet no illegal products were found in either raid. The lack of reasons given during and after the raids, and the confiscation of legal stock that included extra virgin olive oil, beggars belief. We are heartened to hear that Jim Wright and his legal counsel have every intention of mounting an Appeal.’
It is expected that Jim Wright’s Appeal against his prosecution will be launched within 9 months."
For a full version of the proceedings visit Alliance Natural Health
As with all beaurocratic organisations, where people are not accountable for their actions, this shameful case highlights the old maxim that "Rules are meant for the guidance of the wise, and the blind obedience of fools". The MHRA haven't shown any wisdom. Why don't they go after the makers of Vioxx and all the other chemicals passed as safe by the regulatory authorities; much more harmful chemical than vitamin B-17?
Perhaps of some passing interest might be this article, from another body of worthies designated to ensure that what we put into our mouths is safe, the Food Standards Agency where they tell us that 1-2 bitter apricot kernels daily are safe. Does the left hand know what the right is doing? Does the left hand even know what the left hand is doing?
The Fate of a Good Man. Prosecuted for being set up to sell vitamin B-17
The investigation, Prosecution and Trial of Jim Walker, accused of selling Vitamin B-17 by the MHRA.
A "medicinal product" is defined in Article 1 of Directive 2001/83/EEC and this definition is now part of UK law as a result of S.I.1994/3144. The definition is: " Any substance or combination of substances presented for treating or preventing disease in human beings or animals. MHRS's Definition of a Medical Product
" Any substance or combination of substances presented for treating or preventing disease in human beings or animals.
By the above reasoning, all probiotic/live culture yoghurts for example, which claim to restore the natural gut bacteria and make people feel better, also must be considered medicines. This might come as a shock to all yoghurt makers! How are we to view the health claims on the back of cereal packets and numerous other foods, that claim to be good for our health? Are these too not to be considered medicines?
Will the MHRA now clear supermarket and shop shelves of any food products that claim to be good for us? If food is not good for us then what is its use?
External References:- Please note, the author does not necessarily agree with all the comments expressed on these external sites. The links are given for your information, so that you can make your own minds up.
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