U.S. Senator Rand Paul seeks a legal amendment to rein in FDA overreach

From Rand Paul’s blog:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today on the U.S. Senate floor, Sen. Rand Paul introduced an amendment to the Food and Drug Administration User Fee Reauthorization bill, which would curb the Food and Drug Associations overreach and abuse of power. Sen. Paul’s amendment, No. 2143, would disarm the FDA, put an end to raids on natural food stores and Amish farmers, and stop FDA censorship of truthful claims of dietary supplements.

Below is the video and transcript of his speech, as well as top-line points and background information regarding Sen. Paul’s amendment.



President, today I’m offering an amendment to the FDA. I’m troubled by images of armed agents raiding Amish farms and preventing them selling milk directly from the cow. I think we have bigger problems in our country than sending armed FDA agents into peaceful farmers’ land and telling them they can’t sell milk directly from the cow.

My amendment has three parts. First, it attempts to stop the FDA’s overzealous regulations of vitamins, food and supplements by codifying the first amendment prohibition on prior restraint. What do I mean by that?

The first amendment says you can’t prevent speech, even commercial speech, in advance of the speech. You can’t tell cheerios that they can’t say there’s a health benefit to their Cheerios. Under our current FDA laws, FDA says if you want to market prune juice, you can’t say that it cures constipation.

You can’t make a health claim about a food supplement or about a vitamin, you can do it about a pharmaceutical, but you’re not allowed to do it about a health supplement.

I think this should change. There have been several court cases that show this goes against not only the spirit but the letter of the law of the First Amendment. So this amendment would change that.

This amendment would stop the FDA from censoring claims about curative, mitigative effects of dietary supplements. It would also stop the FDA from prohibiting distribution of scientific articles and publications regarding the role of nutrients in protecting against disease…”

Read more on Rand Paul’s blog.



Filed under News

14 responses to “U.S. Senator Rand Paul seeks a legal amendment to rein in FDA overreach

  1. InalienableWrights

    Rand you are straying from the Constitution. You know as well as I do that the Constitution does not authorize the FDA. It therefore is a criminal, rogue agency, and you are supporting it by your actions. Do the right thing Rand! I don’t think your dad would take this cowardly approach.

    • MightyWombat

      You are incorrect. While not outlined in the Constitution, the power to create/ratify treaties IS within the purview of the Legislature.
      Here’s the story:
      In 1912, the Senate adopted the International Opium Convention – see 38 Stat. 1912. Later, this convention was supplemented by a similar convention of 1913, the Multilateral Narcotics Drugs Convention, ratified on March 31, 1932, 48 Stat. 1543, which was thereafter implemented by appropriate federal legislation designed to control poppy production within this country. [Note from Devvy: this 1932 convention is null and void since it was ratified by a senate serving in office under a law that does not exist.] In Stutz v. Bureau of Narcotics, 56 F.Supp. 810, 813 (N.D.Cal. 1944), some poppy growers sought an injunction to enforcement against them of the provisions of the act implementing the convention, their argument being the act invaded the reserved powers of the Tenth Amendment. In rejecting this argument and holding that the act applied within the jurisdiction of California, the Court declared:

      “The competency of the United States to enter into treaty stipulations with foreign powers designed to establish, through appropriate legislation, an internationally effective system of control over the production and distribution of habit forming drugs is not questioned. The obligations of the United States incurred as a party to the two Conventions heretofore mentioned were lawfully undertaken in the proper exercise of its treaty making power. And Congress is constitutionally empowered to enact whatever legislation is necessary and proper for carrying into execution the treaty making power of the United States.”

      Other cases have also noted that control over drugs by the federal government arises from these treaties – see United States v. Rodriguez-Camacho, 468 F2d. 1220 (9th Cir. 1972); and NORML v. Ingersoll, 497 F2d 654 (D.C.Cir. 1974), later opinion at 559 F2d. 735 (D.C.Cir. 1977). The jurisdiction of the DEA is therefore based upon these drug treaties and it thus has an international jurisdiction. Henry Hudson, Randy Weaver’s defendant and the former head of the Marshal’s Service, stated as much on his Sunday afternoon radio show in the D.C. area back in March of this year.

      The power of the DEA to control “bad” drugs such as opium and cocaine is constitutionally indistinguishable from the similar power of the FDA to control other “drugs” such as Vitamin B and shark cartilage. If the DEA is a treaty-based federal agency, is it not possible that so is the FDA? As you might expect, the authority of the FDA arises from a 1906 international Agreement for Unification of Pharmacopeial Formulas for Potent Drugs.

      There are other examples of treaties being used to provide jurisdiction for federal crimes. Of course, Congress completely lacks delegated authority to control prostitution within the states. However, the Agreement for Repression of Trade in White Women was ratified by the Senate on March 1, 1905 – see 35 Stat. 1979. The implementing legislation for this treaty was the White Slave Traffic Act, 36 Stat. 825. The Supreme Court has noted that this treaty provides jurisdiction to enact laws on this subject; see United States v. Portale, 235 U.S. 27 (1914). But, even with jurisdiction being based upon this treaty, there are limits to prosecutions for violations thereof and everything relating to prostitution cannot be federally controlled – see Keller v. United States, 213 U.S. 138 (1909).

      In summary, it is quite clear that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, DEA and FDA are treaty-based federal agencies. Under the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the power to make criminal four types of conduct: treason, counterfeiting, piracies and felonies on the high seas, and offenses against the laws of nations. Very few people discuss which precise federal crimes fall within the category of offenses against the laws of nations and it would be very beneficial if we knew which crimes were of this type. Obviously, the criminal provisions of the federal gambling laws and the federal drug laws can be but one thing: offenses against the law of nations.

      Please, read a book that tells the entire story. Sheesh.

  2. Harkin (who is sponsoring the bill S 3187) made a motion to table Paul’s amendment. I’ve been watching on C-Span and this just carried 78 to 15. McConnell (my other KY Senator) votes to table. He has got to go. Too much power for a career politician.

    At least the amendment didn’t fail a vote on the amendment itself. Am I right in assuming it is better to be tabled than voted down?

  3. I just sent this message to Rand’s office via his website (the big “send an email” link: “Thank you so much for this. You’ve offered relief to my most pressing FDA anxieties. I just watched as the amendment was tabled (my other KY Senator voting to table. Argh.) At least the KY FDA office is put on notice that a KY Senator will not stand idly by if they dare to harass our farmers and consumers! God bless you for this.”

  4. InalienableWrights

    Do any of you believe in the Constitution – or do you just pretend and use it when it is expedient like Rand Paul?

  5. thebovine

    Update: Senate Passes FDA Bill with Sen. Paul Reform Language Included

    Clause will expedite FDA access to and application of data from analogous overseas trials for life-saving drugs

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (S.3187), which included language inserted by Sen. Rand Paul. This language would force the FDA to accept data from clinical investigations conducted outside the United States, including the European Union, to speed the process of getting life-saving drugs on the market by the FDA.

    “Innovation in clinical drug trials should not be confined to the data received from trials in the United States. Findings from countries that incorporate the same rigorous requirements as we do when developing life-saving drugs and devices should be accepted by the FDA as well,” Sen. Paul said. “I am proud to see this important step being taken to increase the treatment options of millions of Americans currently hampered by outdated laws.”

    Sen. Paul also introduced an amendment yesterday to the bill that would curb the Food and Drug Administration’s overreach and abuse of power. Sen. Paul’s amendment, No. 2143, would disarm the FDA, toughen up the mens rea component of many prohibited acts under the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act in an attempt to end armed raids on natural food stores and Amish farmers, and stop FDA censorship of truthful claims of dietary supplements. It failed passage by a vote of 78-15.

    • D. Smith

      Rand Paul and 14 others voted against tabling this amendment because they wanted it to move immediately to legislation. If something is tabled, it’s basically shoved under the rug and that’s pretty much where it stays for a long time. 78 shysters didn’t wanna deal with it, so they tabled it.

      And, what’s good about speeding up access to drugs?? I highly disagree with Rand Paul on this issue.

      • D. Smith does anyone here believe that we live in a free country and should behave as such? Where and how do you think government in a free society gets the right to tell us what we can and can not put into our bodies?

  6. Pingback: Breaking news: US Senator Rand Paul offers surprise amendment to rein in FDA abuses, disarm the FDA, decriminalize free speech NEWS LONDON ONTARIO - Alternative / News London Ontario - News, sports, entertainment, business, travel, homes and auto sections

  7. Because it starts to break the hold Big Pharma has on access to treatments, not just drugs. Baby steps

  8. That’s how we got to where we are Sally….. NO MORE COMPROMISES! Stand for principle or stand for nothing.

  9. Well my instincts about Rand being unprincipled were spot on – and played out today.


    Rand is dead politically IMHO unless he can get pork seeking demo-publicans to vote him back in. After all he is an incumbent and the sheeple love incumbents, AND PORK.

    Rand unlike his father does not realize that “You can not dance with the devil and change him. If you dance with the devil he will change you.”

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