Tom Harkin Tips His Hand
My primary blog post today (as every Wednesday) is over at Science-Based Medicine. But I wanted to reinforce a very important point we have been discussing over there regarding Senator Tom Harkin.
Harkin, along with Orrin Hatch, was the force behind DSHEA – the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 that removed herbs and supplements, essentially, out from under FDA regulation. This resulted in the explosion of the supplement industry, happily jumping through this giant loop hole manufactured for them.
DSHEA is bad law and has significantly weakened health protection for Americans. Harkin is clearly a true-believer when it comes to supplements and cultish medical practices. However, the top contributor to his campaign in 2007-2008 was from employees of Herbalife, a multi-level marketing company selling supplements and herbs with dubious health claims. Hatch’s home state is Utah, which is considered to be the epicenter of the supplement industry.
Recently Harkin hosted a senate hearing and invited some of the luminaries of the CAM movement to speak. The clear purpose of this hearing was to push a specific agenda – to hijack Obama’s healthcare reform initiative to further infiltrate pseudoscience and sectarian medical beliefs into the healthcare system. David Gorksi and Peter Lipson both discuss this issue at SBM.
But here is the money-quote from Harkin.
One of the purposes of this center was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say publicly that it has fallen short. It think quite frankly that in this center and in the office previously before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things rather than seeking out and approving.