ANH Legal Challenge to EU Directive in London High Court

The ANH - Alliance for Natural Health - has initiated a court challenge against the UK's implementation of the European Directive on Food Supplements, which is coming up for its first hearing on 30 January. The ANH charges that many natural health products today available are likely to vanish from the market as a result of this and other European legislative efforts which favour pharmaceutical medicines over the natural "competition".

Here is an announcement from the ANH:

ANH High Court Hearing

Friday 30 January 2004 at 10.30 am

ANH Application for Permission for Judicial Review of the Food Supplements Directive.

Come to the Court Hearing and support us as we seek to make history!

As Court space is extremely limited click: Court Hearing Register for details and to let us know that you intend to come.

Court seating is very limited and we are talking to the Administrators to seek their assignment of a Court with a larger seating capacity for the Hearing.

However in order for this to happen we need to know numbers of those wishing to attend!

And here some more detail on the ANH's actions to preserve our access to natural remedies:

Dear Josef,

Happy New Year!

As I mentioned in our last mailshot on 19 December 2003, I am now writing to update you on our legal action, the first stage of which is going to be heard in the High Court on Friday 30 January 2004. I am also making an urgent appeal to you.

Full details of the legal challenge will be available on our website ( but in summary we are seeking permission from the Court to challenge (on EU law constitutional grounds) the implementation in England of the ban on non-positive list nutrients, which is being imposed by the EU Food Supplements Directive ("FSD") from July 2005.

Once permission is given we will then be seeking a reference of the case to the European Court of Justice (the EU Supreme Court), which has the power to strike down the FSD ban as being unconstitutional under EU law.

Unless this ban is overturned thousands of the most beneficial products presently on UK, Swedish, Irish, Dutch and other markets will be lost and this legal challenge is the last chance we have to stop the ban and save these food supplements.

We need your help with the challenge and I will be giving details below.

But in summary you can play your part by doing the following:

1. Please make a financial donation

2. Spread the word as widely as you can by forwarding this e-mail to your contacts

3. Urge your contacts to do the same and to join the Alliance

Many people, across 43 countries, have already taken up this cause with the Alliance for Natural Health (ANH) and are determined not to allow the systematic destruction of natural therapies on dubious grounds claimed by the legislators.

We have no issue with legislation that properly regulates food supplements in the EU. Indeed we welcome it and the improvements in quality control that will need to be made by some sectors of the industry but there is absolutely no legal or scientific justification for the ban. It is in reality a blatant attempt to remove from sale in the EU high potency, bioavailable and effective food supplements.

The campaign we are running is about to escalate to a new level, the consequences which will impact the lives of millions of people throughout the world.

I would like to personally express my sincere thanks for your support for the cause of health freedom. As a supporter of the ANH, your efforts and contributions are essential if we are to continue to be successful.

I have analysed the sources of our funding since we came in to being as a campaign organisation early in 2002 and although we have a growing number of companies who have made valuable donations to our cause, the majority has so far has come from individuals like you!

With your help ANH has been able to achieve much.

Our five most important achievements in the campaign to-date may be summarised as follows:

1. February 2002 - present: The pulling together of innovative dietary supplement interests, including practitioners and consumers, across Europe and other parts of the world* under the single umbrella of the ANH. The ANH has itself been developed as a professional campaign organisation with potent scientific and legal expertise having the sole purpose of positively shaping European and other legislation affecting natural healthcare.

* ANH currently has supporters in 43 countries, signed up through the ANH website; of these, 39% are in the UK, 17% are in the USA, 6% are in Sweden and Australia, 4% are in Ireland, and 2% are in each of the following countries: Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Canada. All other (34) countries each represent 1% or less of supporters.

2. June 2002 - December 2003: Securing support for amendments to oppose the European Commission's proposal for the definition of a medicine and the broadened scope of the Pharmaceuticals Directive which would otherwise risk the medicalisationof all food supplements. Support has come particularly from Members of the European Parliament, practitioners, consumers and companies.

3. July 2002 - December 2003: Demonstrating to the European Parliament that the proposed Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive would unfairly discriminate against non-EU herbal traditions including Ayurveda, Chinese Traditional Medicine and herbal cultures from Southern Africa, South America and other parts of the world. Amendments to modify these restrictive provisions have now been accepted by the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Council of Ministers.

4. January 2003 - January 2004: Development of a pan-European legal challenge against the Food Supplements Directive, using the best EU law specialist barristers available. The case has involved months of research and pulls together critical data on the impact of the Directive from companies all over Europe. Assuming success on the 30 January, we will proceed to a hearing in the European Court of Justice.

5. December 2003 - January 2004: Demonstrating to the European Parliament and European Commission that the Commission and Council's final wording for the Pharmaceuticals Directive was not sufficiently effective legally to prevent food supplements, cosmetics, foods and other non-medicinal products from being re-classified as drugs. With the assistance of Members of the European Parliament and the EHPM (, ANH was then pivotal in securing recognition, by the Commission, that this issue must be resolved by means of consultation with stakeholders, including the ANH.

These achievements have only been possible because of your donations!

You have made the challenging of nonsensical, potentially life-threatening aspects of this legislation possible - legislation that so profoundly works against both our democratic sense and our freedom of choice!

This legislative assault against natural healthcare is occurring globally - and many of you will have views on the likely motives behind it. When dietary supplements are statistically easily the safest group of products we consume - being on average much safer even than foods - it is not acceptable for the legislators to simply claim that these proposals are occurring in order to protect consumers!

The real debate on the value and safety and efficacy of food supplements is only just beginning, and as is usual with such campaigns, may last a long time - and as you are aware, the future of healthcare for future generations is potentially at stake.

We made a decision to fight our Food Supplements Directive case with the very best European lawyers in the UK, at Brick Court Chambers. These chambers include the UK barristers who previously managed to overturn the Directive, which sought to ban tobacco advertising in the EU. It can be done!

We are confident from our close work with Brick Court Chambers and our solicitors the Simkins Partnership that we have an excellent chance of gaining the Reference to the European Court of Justice - and a good chance of winning the case there. The same arguments, which were successfully applied in the Tobacco case, we are advised, can also be deployed for our benefit here.

Filing the legal case in the High Court in London has cost over £80,000 and we anticipate that we will need another £20,000 to cover preparation for and the Hearing on 30 January.

ANH staff have worked extraordinarily hard against difficult odds in order to fight this battle - as I know have many of you who have made regular contributions to the fighting fund - helping in distribution of literature, giving talks on the subject and raising people's awareness on these issues. ANH Legal Director David Hinde and I have made great personal sacrifices in the process, having worked tirelessly, (often completely unpaid), on this issue for nearly two years, sometimes putting in 100-hour weeks.

I now want to ask you to do your part financially in this great endeavour.

We need on-going funding whilst we continue to the campaign and legal challenge, and as I indicated above, it is your contributions which have been so instrumental in getting us this far!

So, I now appeal to you to contribute (for the first time or once again) whatever you are able to afford, even if is only £5, €5 or $5, but this time I would like you to help us continue the challenge by paying this amount monthly on a standing order if you are in the UK or by credit card or electronic (swift&Mac226;) transfer if you are outside the UK.

That said, a contribution of any amount from everyone will ensure our on-going ability to continue this campaign on behalf of this and future generations!

Please go to our website and fill in the on-line standing order right now or complete another means of payment. We need your help now in advance of the UK Court Hearing on 30 January!

No matter how small your contribution, every pound, euro, dollar or other denomination counts, and will be spent solely on fighting our cause.

Once again, I wish to offer to you my heartfelt thanks for helping us to get this far and helping us to take these critical next steps in the legal challenge and related campaign.

Thank you.

My very best wishes for your good health, now and in the future.

Yours sincerely,

Dr Rob Verkerk BSc (Hons), MSc, DIC, PhD
Executive Director
Alliance for Natural Health
Tel: +44 (0)1252 371 275