A few years back I got myself into woeful trouble with the Irish Medicines Board. I had been selling licensed medicines in a manner contrary to the provisions of the Medical Preparations (Prescription and Control of Supply) Regulations 1996. This arose from a website that I then had, which was aimed at helping men with erectile dysfunction. And a damn good service it was too, or so I thought at the time, given the embarrassing nature of erectile dysfunction and mens’ natural reluctance to talk about it.
Alright, fair enough. If I, albeit unwittingly, fall foul of the laws of this land, then I can hardly complain about the consequences of my behaviour. In this case though, I must confess that I was not prepared for the vivacity of the Medicines Board’s response to my misdemeanours. Two large men in black suits and carrying oversized black leather briefcases, spent a whole afternoon in my surgery grilling me about my website and treatments for erectile dysfunction. I found the whole experience deeply humiliating and intimidating.
But it could have been worse. I could have been prosecuted, I could have even spent time in prison. Because make no mistake about it, the Irish Medicines Board – with its Medical Preparations Act and full time “enforcement officers” ready to pounce at a minute’s notice – is a powerful institution that takes its duties of enforcing regulations very seriously indeed. All medical preparations must be licensed; they must carry a Produce Authorisation and they must be labelled and carry a detailed information leaflet warning consumers of any potential harmful effects. The Act mentions no exceptions. That is the law of this land.
And what is a medical preparation? Here again the Irish Medicines Board answers that question for us in great detail and in non-equivocal language. They say that a medical preparation is “any substance given with a view to curing or preventing disease”. Fluoridated drinking water is given to the population of Ireland with a view to preventing the disease dental caries. Therefore logically fluoridated drinking water is a medical preparation by the Medicines Board’s own definition of that term.
So, does it carry Product Authorisation or Product Licence as required by law? The medical preparation fluoridated drinking water has about as much Product Authorisation and Licence as Lily the Pink’s cure for stammering. You will recall no doubt the plight of poor Johnny Hammer who had a terrible stammer. Apparently they fed him Lily’s medicinal compound with excellent results.
So fluoridated drinking water is, under Irish law, an illegal medicine which has long been force-fed to the Irish population in violation of their Constitutional rights to bodily integrity. So where are these two men from the Irish Medicines Board now, with their dark suits and oversized leather briefcases, and why are they not out there grilling our water authorities for adding an illegal medicine to our drinking water? I do not know but it is difficult to escape the conclusion that in this country there is one law for you and me and a completely different one for our Government and the Department of Health.
But never mind that. What about the efficacy of the medicine that is fluoridated drinking water? Does the stuff work in reducing the incidence of tooth decay? Well, in the absence of any proper clinical trials as would be required for all other medicines, we are back in Lily the Pink territory once again.
Her medicinal compound was, according to the song, most efficacious in every case. Not, mind you, that there was much proof of that, her medicines were not exactly evidence-based, but rather the assertion of efficacy seemed to fit the general nonsense of the ditty.
But the medicine fluoridated drinking water goes even one better. For we are told that not only is it efficacious in every case it is also apparently efficacious in every dose. Unique to all other medicines that I know of, fluoridated water has no recommended daily dose. Fat or thin, big or small, old or young, once a day, 10 times a day, it does not seem to matter. It is efficacious in every case and in every dose. Wonderful stuff.
But take heart, the experts have arrived in town. The Lily the Pink Expert Body on Fluoridation and Health [are] being wheeled on central stage. And while we await their evidence-based utterances, and so far we have waited for over three years, we may as well drink a drink of fluoridated water to their ultimate success and good health.