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Val Johanson

Val Johanson is a member of several committees and organisations which have some advisory role to governments about alternative medicine. She pretends that the industry is concerned about safety and effectiveness of the products it sells, but the truth is revealed by her almost hysterical opposition to any investigation of fraud in the industry which is not carried out by someone who already agrees with her. The "Call to action" below is a set of suggestions she has made about how people should complain to members of parliament. My comments are interspersed. Ms Johanson is also responsible for the wording of a petition to be presented to representatives which is included below.

It was interesting to find that Ms Johanson is mentioned favourably several times on the web site of the International Advocates for Health Freedom. One of the references to her describes her attempts to ensure that no restrictions should be placed on the deceptive labelling of herbal products. Being liked by the IAHF is something like a geologist being endorsed by creationists or a physicist being praised by a perpetual-motion machine inventor. Before going on to Ms Johanson's words, I would like to give you a quote from insane netloon John Hammell who runs (is?) the IAHF. John was talking about me and some other people, and his mental state is quite clear from the quote, where he says that we "are in constant communication with the FDA, and the FDA's international counterparts which are all networked via the UN's International Council on Drug Regulating Authorities- which is run directly by the Council- the Illuminati- the small group who seek total control of our lives and who are pushing very hard now to impose a dictatorial world government on us via the UN, whose chief is Satan, the father of lies- who is making a major bid right now to control all of our souls as he seeks to force us into a microchipped, psychocivilized society under mind control".


CALL TO ACTION - NEED YOUR HELP

In order to get a message to the CARR government that Dwyer is unacceptable to head up a Committee to look at Complementary and alternative healthcare, we need your help to get this message to every Member of the NSW parliament by sending emails to the attached email list. If politicians get more that 5 or 6 emails a day on a particular subject they realise they have a problem.

DO NOT INCLUDE THIS DOCUMENT IN ITS ENTIRETY OR AN AN ENCLOSURE IN YOUR EMAIL. IT IS PROVIDED TO MAKE THE PROCESS OF EXPRESSING YOUR OWN CONCERNS ABOUT THE COMMITTEE EASIER, AND TO JOG YOUR MEMORY REGARDING ISSUES AGREED TO BE OF CONCERN.

The committee's real name is the Health Claims and Consumer Protection Committee (HCCPC)

The Chair who has been appointed is Professor John Dwyer

The major points in briefest summary are:

  1. Professor Dwyer is unacceptable as Chair of the Health Claims and Consumer Protection Committee and should be removed.

The quacks are really frightened of Professor Dwyer, aren't they?

  1. He has demonstrated clear ignorance of, bias and prejudice against complementary and alternative medicine products, practices and practitioners, and has even gone so far as to write to health funds in November 2001 to request that they discontinue rebates for "unscientific ('alternative') medicine".
  2. There had been no prior consultation with any of the peak bodies representing Natural and Complementary Healthcare Industry prior to the Media Release announcing the Committee on 31/10/02.
  3. The Committee and its Chair lack expertise in the field of complementary and alternative medicine, and are therefore in no position to make judgments on the science and value of CAM products or services.

By this argument the police who investigate bank robberies would require personal experience in armed robbery themselves, and only former prostitutes could work in the vice squad.

  1. Although terms of reference and Committee membership has not yet been finalised, Professor Dwyer briefed the media widely on his interpretation of the role of this Committee and its objective of targeting complementary and alternative medicine. Media reports attributed to him were inflammatory and unbalanced, and attacked only complementary and alternative medicine.

THE PEAK BODIES REPRESENTING THE NATURAL AND COMPLEMENTARY HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY HAVE WRITTEN TO THE MINISTER AND THE PREMIER REQUESTING THAT:

¥ Professor Dwyer be removed as the Chair of the Committee; and

The professor is such a scary man.

¥ the Committee be reconstituted (or a subcommittee formed) to appropriately and cooperatively address issues of safety, evidence and fraudulent claims in complementary and alternative medicine, and that it include the available expertise and major stakeholders in the Natural and Complementary Healthcare Industry .

It is worth stating in the email that everyone supports the idea of protecting the public from fraudulent health and medical claims, as long as such protection is even handed and addresses the considerable health risks associated with "orthodox" medical care.

These risks of "orthodox" health care are being addressed. Now the risks of quackery are being addressed as well.

The industry and a number of acknowledged experts would be more than happy to be involved with the NSW Government in any fair and representative Committee, Chaired by a respected and qualified expert acceptable to all stakeholders. All parties could then work cooperatively towards a common goal, and not head down what seems to be Professor Dwyer’s preferred path of drama, confrontation and acrimony.

The Natural and Complementary Healthcare Industry is an ethical, popular and growing industry employing many thousands of people in NSW, with a turnover of around $1 billion in NSW alone.

The heroin, ecstasy and prostitution rackets turn over more than $1 billion each year too. They are very popular.

The NSW Government has already indicated its support for better training and for self regulation of Natural Healthcare Practitioners, and has repeatedly acknowledged the valuable services they provide.

WHAT IF NOTHING IS DONE

You will need to decide what you would be prepared to do if there is NO change in the Chair, and no change in the Committee. What are the consequences for the Government and Minister?

There IS an election coming up, and more than 6 million residents of NSW use complementary and alternative medicine products and services. It is likely that the possibility of lost votes and risk of losing marginal seats (Parramatta, Georges River, Ryde, Port Jackson, Parramatta, Cabramatta, Coogee I believe) may motivate some rapid action.

At the end of March 2002 (the latest figures available), the population of New South Wales was 6,654,400. If "more than 6 million" are users of alternative medicine, one has to ask what the other 654,399 people use to keep healthy.

Your own vote is important, but the votes of those who you have access to and may influence is likely to have a much greater impact.

PETITIONS AND LETTER WRITING BY THE PUBLIC WILL HELP AND A PETITION WILL BE CIRCULATED TODAY. WE NEED YOUR HELP IN GETTING AS MANY SIGNATURES AS POSSIBLE.

Raising the issue in the local media as well as metropolitan and national media will also help


The email below was distributed by Pauline Rose, but as it was simply forwarding material from Ms Johanson it is included here.

From: Pauline Rose
Sent: Friday, November 29, 2002 8:32 AM
Subject: Fw: PETITIONS!!!

Please return the petitions to either Richard Jones, Alan Corbett or Peter Wong. Someone has to read them !!!!!!!

Address if NSW PARLIAMENT, MACQUARIE ST, SYDNEY OR FAX IS 9230 3312----- Original Message -----

Need all your help please

attached is an petition that has been approved for format and acceptable wording - please note when copying this that the text at the top MUST appear on the top of EVERY page- you cannot just have a list of names so if you are going to do double sided petitions, make sure you copy the text on both sides

Over to you

get as many names as possible and return to Parliament ASAP

Good luck

cheers Val

Here are the words of the petition:

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales

This petition of certain citizens of New South Wales draws to the attention of the Legislative Assembly, decisions by the NSW Minister for Health, the Hon. Craig Knowles MP, to establish a 'Health Claims and Consumer Protection Advisory Committee' with Professor John Dwyer as Chair.

Final Terms of Reference for this Committee and its membership are not yet available, but the Minister's Press release clearly targets 'alternative health products and procedures,'

Let's put those words "alternative health products and procedures" into the context of the press release. What the release said was:

The NSW Government will crackdown on 'miracle cures', 'wonder drugs' and misleading health claims and advertisements to protect people who are sick and vulnerable.

The Minister for Health, Mr Craig Knowles, today said that up to $2 billion is spent in Australia on alternative health products and procedures, many of which have not been scientifically tested or proved.

"There are people who are preying on the sick and most vulnerable in society by offering cures that have no medical benefit to the patient," said Mr Knowles.

Note how easy it is for a liar to take some words completely out of context and make them mean something else. This was not accidental. This is a deliberate attempt at deception. This is the only place in the press release where the words "alternative health products and procedures" appear, yet they were presented inside quotes after the words "clearly targets" as if that is what the press release said. If Val Johanson wrote the words of the petition she is a liar. If Pauline Rose distributes the petition, she is agreeing to and complicit in the spreading of lies. Just to make sure that I am not misunderstood, I will repeat that Val Johanson and Pauline Rose are lying when they say that the press release from the Minister for Health "clearly targets 'alternative health products and procedures'".

Professor John Dwyer has written and published numerous articles demonstrating his strong negative views on natural and complementary healthcare services and products.

Studies show that, based on pharmaco-economic modelling, alternative and complementary healthcare have the potential to reduce chronic disease and cut the escalating cost of healthcare including the PBS.

"Pharmaco-economic modelling"? Let's forget the "pharmaco-economic modelling" and get down to clinical trials or some other evidence that this stuff works.

As over 70% of the public now use alternative or complementary medicines, the undersigned citizens are angry and concerned that someone with no expertise in this area, and who is on the public record as opposing these products and services is heading up a committee that is addressing relating to complementary healthcare and products.

Your petitioners pray that the Assembly seek an assurance from the government that Professor Dwyer does not head up a committee dealing with products and services against which he holds such strong and personal views.

Again I must point out how frightened these quacks are of Professor Dwyer. Why don't they just produce proof of their claims? Is it because they can't? That is a rhetorical question, because of course they can't.


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