“Truehope, the southern Alberta supplement producer that developed a natural treatment for mental illness, is taking a Constitutional argument against Health Canada to the federal court of appeal Monday in Calgary.
Anthony Stephan, co-founder of Truehope Nutritional Support Ltd., a Canadian not-for-profit mental health support organization, said he and his partner David Hardy are returning to the Federal Courts on behalf of all Canadians. At issue is Health Canada’s authority to remove safe and effective natural health products without evidence of harm or risk to consumers – which the government agency did with Truehope’s product Empowerplus in 2003.
At that time, Truehope struck a deal with Health Canada allowing continued access to the supplement for at-risk patients, but nonetheless, as a result of Health Canada’s actions, thousands of Canadians were left in physical distress leading to hospitalizations and suicides.
Truehope was victorious in court the following year when a judge concluded that even as Health Canada agents were denying access to the formula, they were fully aware that their actions would result in harm or danger to those who depended on the product for their health. The men have decided that in spite of legal bills now in the neighbourhood of $750,000, they would mount a Constitutional challenge to prevent similar seizures involving other products in the future. When they were denied standing to file a Constitutional appeal in February 2010, their lawyer Shawn Buckley filed an appeal.
Added to their legal team this time is Vancouver lawyer Jason Gratl, known for assisting Robert Latimer in obtaining release into parole, and for succeeding in preventing Shell Canada Energy from engaging in coalbed methane extraction in the Sacred Headwaters (Tahltan) territory of northern British Columbia.
“This will be an extremely interesting case,” said Stephan. “Because if we’re successful in this, it will set precedent law that will stop them from removing products off the shelves without first communicating to Canadians that they believe that these products should be removed. And then they must allow Canadian people the right to say, ‘no, I need this for my health,’ and they’ll have to prove to the courts that by taking a product off the market it’s not going to bring injury, vis-a-vis the Truehope case.
“It’s a private issue, and I have the right to mediate my own health.”
Current Health Canada regulations grant bureaucrats authority to remove natural health products at their discretion without any accountability to Canadians for their actions.
“I lost my wife to suicide when her bipolar illness was untreatable with medication,” Stephan said…”