INTRODUCTIONThe route to Pig Pills, Inc, began in October 2000 when two of the authors were startled by the media hype on two CTV programs. The "news" report was about a very preliminary study that was presented at the Canadian Psychiatric Association annual meeting (See Appendix 9).
The "research" suggested that bipolar disorder could be improved with vitamins and minerals based on a treatment that was purported to be used with pigs. The original discovery was made by a couple of laymen in Alberta.
Neither of these men could claim that they had any medical or research background yet, because of their efforts, several of their family members were saved from their apparent mental illnesses and a cure was borne.
One of us became even more concerned when he learned that these lay people were actively selling their vitamin cure and encouraging people to go off psychiatric medication. In fact, the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) and its current president, Len Wall, were warning people about this after a young man with schizophrenia in Ottawa had attempted suicide when he stopped his medication in favor of this new product.
It is dangerous and unethical to substitute something that is not approved by government regulators for medication that is scientifically safe and efficacious. One small study and a bunch of testimonials by patients was certainly not scientific proof. We also wondered how respected universities and academics could allow their names to be associated with these sales schemes.
For over two years, we asked questions, and we were shocked by what we learned. We plowed through over 700 pages obtained under two Access to Information Requests (ATIP) from Health Canada. We obtained documents under freedom of information from the University of Calgary, and the government of Alberta. We searched corporate filings and court documents all over North America. We interviewed dozens of people and we even went under cover to buy the product. We attended presentations by the promoters and their associates. And then there were those people who came to us, and gave us their personal insight into the "who, the what and the why" that made this story so important to tell.
The more questions we asked, the more tangled the story became.
One group that provided help was the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO), although the conclusions in this book are our own. They were concerned because the sales force was targeting people with schizophrenia and encouraging them to go off their medications.
SSO paid to have the pills analyzed by a reputable lab and that set off alarm bells as you will see.
Elizabeth Woeckner of Princeton University provided us with an endless number of links and ethical concerns. She is a member of the board of Citizens for Responsible Care and Research (CIRCARE). Because of her academic commitments, she was not able to co-author the book with us.
The story we are about to tell is a fascinating one that is not over yet. We hope that the facts we present and the questions they raise about ethics in research, and government regulation of so-called natural health products will help in future research
In writing this book, we have attempted to provide an honest evaluation of the facts that we investigated. We were not and are not motivated by malice. This book represents an honest attempt on our part to present the story in good faith and to expose problems that we honestly believe still exist despite threatened actions by Health Canada.
Although some of the principles described in this book describe themselves as members of the Church of Later Day Saints (Mormons), we are not suggesting that the Mormon Church condones the types of treatments or practices that these people sell or provide.
At the time of publication, all the links we have provided were current. If you find broken links, please let us know and we will try to validate and correct them. We have archived many of the sites, including many messages that have been removed from various forums. If at all possible, we suggest that you read this on-line so that you can take advantage of our links.