complete summary of the TrueHope story, as I've seen it play over the last
decade, is on my EMPower Plus page.
Here is a letter from a woman who has been using Empower plus for years; used with permission, though she did not originally write to endorse the product, just to inform me (I've omitted a few details that might be identifying, and added a few editorial remarks in italics).
been using the truehope program for five years. It wasn't Empower Plus to
begin with. By the way, I am a user of the product, not an insider.
However, I am thinking about joining them in the political fight because it
looks as though I might not receive my medication because of the problems with
been three incarnations of the product. The
first was, I think, referred to as the quad program, because there were four
separate nutritional products to take. It was okay, but not the best.
In 2000 it became EMPower Plus and was manufactured by Evince International.
There was a big improvement for me (and others, so I have heard...and i have a
friend who also uses it with great success...after six years of ten drugs
that did nothing in some cases, and SSRI's made him worse) The
average dose was 16 pills a day, the initial "loading" dose was 32.
I started on 24, because I hate taking pills. I know that still sounds
like an obscene amount of pills, but they didn't contain much per pill.
a crucial paragraph: notice she
describes an accidential “on-off-on” test of the pills, which seems to show
that what she’s taking, and not solely her expectations, has a huge impact on
her mood -- JP] There was a three-way split in the co-operation/organisation
sometime last year and a man named [omitted
- JP] phoned me to tell me about it. He misled me to believe that
truehope no longer existed and told me that he had hooked up with a company to
make the same stuff, but with some added amino acids. Well, I ordered it,
expecting the same effects. A week or so after starting them I was back to
my depression (oh, yeah, I'm not bi-polar but a straight depressive). I
got on the phone and called the old truehope phone nu
I have had
depression since I was a teenager. I also have had problems with anxiety,
and the occasional panic attack, though they were rare. My depression
ruined a lot of my life, and at the worst points all I could think about
was killing myself, I would spend most of the day with these thoughts - life was
such a misery that there seemed little reason to bother living, and all the pain
gave me plenty of reason for dieing. However, the reason for living that
kept me alive was my husband. Though there were even times when i
resented him because I wanted to just pack it in, but I loved him too much
to hurt him. I could go on extensively about how depression affected
me, but you know the score. I blamed my dad and didn't speak to him for
six years (my dad is a perfectly normal dad...nice guy actually. I have no
history of abuse, but a great family). At one point I was on the run from
myself (it's amazing how you can lie to yourself), and was sleeping in a tent
under a bridge. Not a great life.
I doubt my
husband would have been able to keep me going. If it weren't for truehope
I would most likely be dead. I'm not being dramatic, there just
seemed to be little reason for living and dieing seemed the only way to make all
the shit stop.
Plus is not a "happy pill", it does not make me "better than
well". It gives me a level playing field. I feel sadness,
anger, and frustration as would be normal for a difficult situation. But I
am able to feel joy and tranquility now. This was not possible before.
It provides for me a level playing field, neither high nor low.
you’ll find her view of the political mess that now surrounds
Empower/Truehope. I’ve included it
because this woman took the trouble to write the above testimonial, and gave
permission for its use; so it seems fair to include the rest of her analysis of
the situation, from her somewhat unique point of view.
I do not intend to endorse her view by including it; rather I endorse
hearing out all views of this mess, assuming that there might be something worth
I realise that I
am just another case study as opposed to a part of a RCT [randomized
clinical trial; our usual "gold standard" in medicine-- JP]. But, as you
are aware, the RCT was shut down. Why is it that in order to get approval
from Health Canada a medicine needs RCT proof, yet the RCT study get shut down?
This smacks of something foul. Same goes for Health Canada having
Customs seize goods because they are a commercial shipment (a shipment of
individual orders with individual order numbers, bills, and private addresses
doesn't sound like a commercial shipment to me), then phone the
individuals who were supposed to (and never did) receive the product and
ask them medical questions. A bureaucrat at Health Canada has no
right to phone me and ask me for personal medical information. I'm
sure truehope aren't perfect, nor do they claim to be. But they have
provided me with a life-preserving medicine. I know that the whole notion
of vit/min successfully treating serious mental illness seems like quackery, it
is very easy to pick on. But it is very easy to pick on crazy people too.
just finished reading Dr. David Healy's book "Let Them Eat Prozac".
He is a psychopharmacologist, and he believes that drugs (SSRI's) do work
for some people. These SSRI's are being marketed and sold to
people who don't need them, would not benefit from them, and some of these
people end up suffering from very serious side effects which the manufacturers
have done a cover-up job on. One of those side-effects is suicide.
I started in University (but never finished because the illness got too
bad) studying psychology. My aim was actually animal behaviour, but
most of what I studied was human psychology. Even our first year text
book mentioned the anecdotal evidence of suicide being a side-effect of SSRI's
as opposed to suicide only from the disease itself. Dr. Healy has
made a conclusive case. As I said, he still believes these drugs are
useful for some people. But he points out not only their possible
side-effects but their low efficacy. Marketing SSRI's to children knowing
they have no greater effect than a placebo, are (in some cases) highly
addictive, and can cause suicide & suicide ideation is quackery in my book.
They have simply bought up enough scientific research and ghost-scientists to
make everything look legit. At this point in history natural
medicine looks anything but legit. And with crackdowns on studies it will
never get anywhere. EMPower Plus won't work for everyone, of course
not. But they don't recommend cutting your meds without medical
supervision. If someone decides to do that, it is their decision.
Discontinuations should be slow, and balanced with observed benefits from the
vits. What is the point in continuing to take pharmaceuticals when you
don't need them anymore?
been able to find the papers/websites where Health Canada gives reasons for canceling
the RCT. But, from the activist page www.redumbrellas.ca
(which quotes only bits and pieces) it seems as though there have been a
few mistakes. For starters, they get the type of germanium wrong, and
there is a big difference. They also say the doses are too high, and talk
about 32 pills a day. As I said earlier, it used to be a loading does of
32 when there was less real mixture per pill. Now, the max. dose is
18. I'm not sure how they did their math, but it couldn't have
been very well. One of the things that i remarked upon when seeing the
numbers on the EMPower Plus bottle was that it was lower in most vits than an
over-the-counter health food store variety of multi-vit/min. You can walk
into a canadian health food store and pick up a vit. B complex with 25mg, 50mg,
or 100mg of such b's as B1, B3, B6. Others are lower, no one needs more
than 1mg of folic acid, for example. But EMPower Plus B1 is 9mg, B3
is 45mg, B6 is 18mg. This is on a 9 pill a day dose.
As for Mr.
Marvin Ross, he has no right to call anyone a quack with dodgey financial
ties. The man runs a PR firm. His website says that Mr. Ross
"...does a great deal of writing for the pharmaceutical industry. He
writes summaries of conference symposia and continuing medical education
programs for physicians" You and I both know that the conferences are
almsot entirely a walking talking ad for whatever drug the particular company is
selling. I have a friend at Canada Customs who is amazed at the
doctors coming to Whistler (Canada's prime tourist ski resort) for these
conferences. They talk about what fun the skiing will be and
what a drag it is they have to show up for two hours of a conference. Not
all (obviously), but many scientists just use this as a free vacation. I
have read letters in "The Globe and Mail" (a national newspaper here)
from doctors who just can't accept the "medical education" the pharma
companies are giving and lament the loss of independent education and studies.
The medical education of the pharmas is also characterized as not much more
than brochures. Mr. Ross is also a publicists (which is of course PR) and
a marketing manager for his local film industry. This man appears to be
part of the ghost science industry. I'll quote Dr. Healy here:
"Given that everyone knows that journal supplements carry a health warning,
where's the problem [with ghost writing]? For some time now, the Web
sites of some major writing agencies have indicated that their reach extends far
beyond writing for symposium supplements. Take Current Medical Directions
(CMD) for instance. CMD are a medical information company based
in New York, established in 1990 'to deliver scientifically accurate information
strategically developed for specific target audiences' (quote from Web site).
This agency writes up studies, review articles, abstracts, journal supplements,
product monographs, expert commentaries, and textbook chapters. It
conducts meta-analyses, and organizes journal supplements, satellite symposia,
consensus conferences, and even advisory boards for its clients."
This is quackery.
connections between the pharma industry, science, and regulatory bodies are
blurring and crossing the lines that should divide them. Dr. Healy lost a
job because he spoke out in order to protect patients. The same happened
to Dr. Nancy Olivieri...she even got hate mail from a co-worker who worked for
the company she had ticked off (be being honest about the risks and efficacy of
a drug she was investigating for them). You guessed it, the co-worker was
receiving money from the same drug company, but he was also found to have a
conflict of interest. Dr. Olivieri is now part of Doctor's for Research
Integrity. You can find them at www.doctorsintegrity.org
this is so long, I hadn't intended it to be. But, for obvious reasons, it
is an emotional issue for me too. I have tried to stop this treatment, to
no avail. It is not addictive, but I end up in that depressive state
again. I have been to see a counseller, and she helped me to build up my
self-confidence after a lifetime of it being kicked down by illness. This
helped a lot, but it doesn't replace a biological solution. The founders
of truehope have family members with mentall illness who could not be
successfully treated with drugs but are now healthy because of EMPower Plus.
This is why this is a fight they cannot afford to lose, why they seem rather
emotional to you, and why the situation may seem a little odd. They are
groping their way through this maze of outdated regulations (Health Canada's
definition of "drug" is from 1936), and naysayers who attack them with
the religious zeal truehope are accused of using. So why are the pigpill
book guys so emotional?
is of some help to you.