According to data just released by the UK-based Alliance for Natural Health International (ANH-Intl), pharmaceutical drugs are 62,000 times more likely to kill you than supplements. In fact, the data collected by ANH-Intl demonstrates that food supplements are the safest substances regularly consumed by UK citizens even though they are the target of increasingly restrictive European legislation aimed at ‘protecting consumers.’
The newly released data found that pharmaceutical drugs were also 7,750 times more likely to result in death than herbal remedies. Both food supplements and herbal remedies were placed in the ‘supersafe’ category of individual risk – with a less than one in ten million risk of death.
The stark contrast between the safety of supplements and mainstream medicine
By contrast, being admitted to a UK hospital or taking prescription drugs exposes a person to one of the greatest preventable risks in society. Overall, preventable medical injuries in UK hospitals expose patients to the same risk of death as being deployed on military service to Afghanistan – both of which are around 300,000 times greater than the risk of death from taking natural health products.
ANH-Intl executive and scientific director, Dr. Robert Verkerk, PhD, hailed the figures as shedding new light on the question of natural healthcare’s safety. “These figures tell us not only what activities an individual is most or least likely to die from, but also what the relative risks of various activities are to society as a whole. It puts some real perspective on the actual risk of death posed by food supplements and herbal remedies at a time when governments are clamping down because they tell us they’re dangerous.”
Verkerk added, “When compared with the risk of taking food supplements, an individual is around 900 times more likely to die from food poisoning and nearly 300,000 times more likely to die from a preventable medical injury during a spell in a UK hospital. The latter is on a par with the risk of death from active military service in Iraq or Afghanistan.”
According to Dr. Verkerk, the new figures should put pressure on UK and European authorities to reduce regulatory burdens on natural health products. “Governments justify the increasingly elaborate and restrictive new laws affecting natural health products on grounds of public safety,” said Verkerk. “They argue that reducing consumer access to food supplements and herbal remedies, with the consequent negative impacts on small businesses manufacturing, distributing and selling such products, is in society’s interest. But the evidence is simply not there – where are the bodies?”
Among other key points presented in the data were:
* Pharmaceutical drugs pose nearly double the risk of death than motorcycle accidents on UK roads
* While herbal medicines can both be regarded as ‘supersafe,’ preventable medical injuries in UK hospitals are in the ‘Dangerous’ category, with a risk of death greater than 1 in 1,000.
In the United States the story is much the same
In the United States, it is estimated that prescription drugs kill over 200,000 people every year. Over 105,000 of those deaths come from side effects of drugs even when they are properly prescribed and administered. By contrast, in any given year zero deaths are reported from vitamins, minerals and food supplements and anywhere from zero to only a couple of deaths reported for all supplements.
Despite the track record of safety for dietary and herbal supplements in the U.S., supplements are coming under increasing attacks from mainstream medicine just as they are in the UK. Clearly, the major risk supplements pose is to the bottom line profits of those who make the far more dangerous mainstream drugs.