The United States’ $100 billion drug industry —the most profitable industry in the nation—has held medicine captive for years. Why? Because the cost involved in approving a drug in the USA is so high, the drug must demand a price high enough to recoup the costs. And one of the ways to do that is with patent protection.
Federal intellectual-property-protection laws provide new brand-name drugs with effective patent lives of about 13 to 15 years. EDTA, for example, was proven safe by the FDA and patented as a pharmaceutical. But the patent on EDTA expired many years ago. Consequently, it is now considered a generic drug that any drug company can manufacture and sell … and is also used as a food additive, because of its antioxidant properties, and as a nutritional supplement.
Why haven’t I heard about EDTA from my doctor?
Because EDTA and other nutritional supplements do not have patents and are not promoted by pharmaceutical companies.
The huge profits that the pharmaceutical company made in producing EDTA have dried up—which means that the pharmaceutical company’s ambitious campaigns to market the product to doctors have stopped—so doctors are unfamiliar with EDTA’s benefits as a chelator.
Also, pharmaceutical companies are now off and running to produce comparable chelators that they can patent and sell for a higher profit. And these pharmaceutical companies are bad-mouthing EDTA, simply because they can’t get the patent and don’t want it competing with any future oral chelating products they may produce.
Typically, this is what happens when a patent expires. You may have taken a particular drug for 15 years, been happy with the results, and all of a sudden it’s taken off the market because its patent expires. The pharmaceutical company begins manufacturing a comparable drug and markets it as “better, more technically advanced, cutting edge,” etc. But you take the drug and don’t notice a significant difference. Why? Because it isn’t really any better. It’s just that the company needs to show a profit, and since it lost the patent on the original drug you were taking, it has to disparage the old drug in order to gain your trust and acceptance of the new drug.
Why isn’t there more research to support the benefits of EDTA?
Simply because it would cost millions of dollars for double-blind studies to prove its effectiveness. And without patent protection, there are no pharmaceutical manufacturers that would fund the research.
Also, “The cost and time required for research of that scope is beyond the resources of the clinicians in private practice who utilize chelation therapy. EDTA chelation therapy has therefore been an ‘orphan’ without a source of financial support for research,” says James P. Carter, MD, PhD, Professor and Head of the Nutrition Section, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans. (“If EDTA Chelation is so good, why is it not widely accepted?” Journal of Advancement in Medicine, Volume 2, Numbers 1/2, Spring/Summer 1989pages 213-226.)
“It costs a drug company millions of dollars for research and paperwork to satisfy FDA requirements for the addition of a new therapeutic claim to the package insert of an established drug. No company will spend the money without the ability to recover those costs in the marketplace. This lack of FDA approval for atherosclerosis is commonly used against physicians by opponents of chelation,” adds Dr. Carter.
Where does that leave nutritional supplements?
Essentially, patent laws shield the pharmaceutical industry from competition in the making and marketing of drugs and supplements. Patent laws discourage pharmaceutical companies from developing natural treatments, and natural compounds can not have full patent protection, and therefore are rarely developed into drugs—which means they are not promoted by doctors, who rarely learn about them.
Take responsibility for your health
It’s up to you, then, to take responsibility for your own health. Educate yourself about nutritional supplements. Read about the latest studies and research on supplements such as EDTA in publications like Smart Publications’ Health & Wellness Update. Learn how to sort through the pharmaceutical industry’s advertising hype. And listen more closely to the small, but powerful voice of the nutritional supplement world. It will make a huge difference in your health … and your life.