I recently reported on how a lobby group was formed in Australia that aims to take out all alternative medicine degrees from universities. Unfortunate news indeed, but there is a much more pressing matter that would negatively impact all natural and alternative health educators. Congress is trying to restrict your access to research so that you will only learn what the mainstream medical establishment wants you to learn. This legislation seeks to limit access to research that is paid for with your tax dollars, and could virtually censor your right to health research – that is until we find a way to rise above.
Legislation Seeks to Censor Taxpayer-Funded Health Research
A new bill called the Research Works Act (HR 3699) was introduced thanks to the Association of American Publishers (AAP) just before the end of 2011. The bill would prevent agencies like the National Institutes of Health from allowing private-sector research work to be distributed online without consent from the publisher and study authors beforehand, even if the funding is coming from your tax dollars. This new bill would institute something completely opposite of what the National Institutes of Health required back in 2008, where all federally funded research publications were to be openly available.
Partnering with the AAP on this matter, publisher Elsevier – the Reed Elsevier Publishing Group which publishes about 2,000 journals and nearly 20,000 books and major reference works – made campaign contributions to the two members of congress who were persuaded to introduce this bill. The price for 2 members of congress to pass a bill? Evidently it only costs $10,500.
If the bill passes, Americans will need to pay $15 or $30 for each journal article individually for the results of federally-funded research. You would need to use your finances, which already paid for the research, to read the research that you paid for.
The introduction of this bill is actually very important. Without access to peer-reviewed scientific research, making choices for the health of you and your family will be extremely difficult. This is especially true when talking about natural and alternative medicine:
“But that’s just the problem: consumers, integrative doctors, and small businesses might not have the funds to access all these scientific journals—which means your access to the science behind natural products will be limited to what mainstream medicine may wish you to know.”
In order for bills like this to be shut down, you must take action. Start by gaining co-sponsors for the Free Speech about Science Act (FSAS) – a landmark legislation that allows the natural health products community to share peer-reviewed scientific findings with the public regarding natural health products. However, FSAS won’t matter if supplement companies and consumers have a hard time accessing scientific studies themselves.
Another thing to do right now is ask Congress to decline the Research Works Act (HR 3699). Tell them why you don’t want your tax dollars to be stolen away from you for nothing. Tell them why restricting access to the results of information that significantly impacts your health is a bad idea.