Rudy Sanchez recognized each person who set foot on the Courtenay courthouse lawn where a rally was held Wednesday on his behalf.
“I feel that everybody here is part of our family, so thank you,” said Sanchez, the manager of Marigold Natural Pharmacy, who has been suspended by the College of Pharmacists of BC due to concerns about public safety and health.
“Every face brings a story,” he said. “That story is usually something that they can’t solve in the conventional way. What it requires is for somebody to listen. I don’t think I’m particularly brilliant. I’m an average person. What I think I have is the combination of all my experiences. My approach is basically give the person in front of me all the skills, 100 per cent of what I can do.”
A college press release said Marigold, without proper authority, has used unsterile and unclean facilities to manufacture prescription drugs and over-the-counter health products. It also says human placenta intended for encapsulation was prepared with little regard for safety protocols. It also claims patients were counselled on alternative drug therapies and products outside the scope of pharmacy practice.
The college had previously suspended Sanchez for similar infractions in 2010.
Rally emcee Michael Harrison, a Marigold employee, recalls many stories from patients who said Sanchez has made a difference in their lives.
“To the point of turning back terminal diagnoses,” Harrison said. “That’s pretty exceptional, but at the very least, all of us would not be where we are today if it wasn’t for places like Marigold Pharmacy and Rudy.”
The office of lawyer Clive Ansley, who is representing Sanchez, is preparing a response to the college.
“This isn’t about a danger to the public, this is about a danger to the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals,” Ansley told the crowd. “What would happen if someone like Rudy came up with a natural substitute for Viagra? It’s a dangerous thing for the pharmaceutical companies to contemplate.”
Ansley said he erred when first discussing Sanchez’ suspension with media. He says each year in Canada about 10,000 deaths are due to side effects of prescribed drugs, not 300-350 deaths.
“There are few in the Valley as capable and informed as Rudy,” said Colin Mallard, PhD. “His knowledge is an invaluable resource when drugs meant to cure us can kill us. The over-use of drugs as practised in Western medicine puts people’s lives at risk and gives rise to super bugs, usually contracted in hospitals, of all places.”
Mallard challenged the college to prove its accusations or withdraw them by the end of the month.
Ansley likens the actions of the college to “a police state in China,” where he spent 14 years and “where the organs of repression have virtually no restraints.
“They are free to do pretty much as they please. That’s basically what’s happening here. The closing (of Marigold) is not a result of an open-ended investigation or routine inspection.”
Ansley describes the college press release as a “tissue of lies,” the worst of which refers to ‘unclean facilities.’
“That is simply a blatant lie, and we will prove it when these things come out in the wash,” Ansley said to cheers.
Marigold’s pharmacy licence and Sanchez’ registration as a pharmacist will remain suspended while the college conducts an investigation. However, Marigold is still operating as a supplement store.
A group dubbed Save Marigold Society has been formed to support the pharmacy. For more information visit www.marigoldnaturalhealth.com.