FEB
01
6

Washington bill: Christian Science "healing" is no substitute for medical care

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: parents have no constitutional right to withhold medical care from their child.  Not a First Amendment right to freedom of religion.  Not a due process right.  (Note: This includes immunizations.)  

Unfortunately, the majority of states have gratuitously created statutory rights that enable parents to substitute faith healing for medical care. You can find all of these laws, plus more information on the website of CHILD, a terrific organization that aims to protect children from the misguided withholding of medical care by parents.

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Recent Comments
Guest — Barbara Ann Wilson, MD
In Dallas Texas I was told that I was having one surgery - and it seems that I got another. The one would have shrunk tumors in m... Read More
Monday, 02 February 2015 02:36
Guest — Barbara Ann Wilson, MD
In Dallas Texas I was told that I was having one surgery - and it seems that I got another. The one would have shrunk tumors in m... Read More
Monday, 02 February 2015 02:36
Janet Camp
Thank the dogs I was raised by atheists.
Monday, 02 February 2015 17:54
9447 Hits
JAN
25
0

Naturopaths put the moves on Mississippi

Fresh from the legislative losses in 2014, naturopaths are busy filing new licensing bills. Perhaps in search of a state where their licensing hasn't been rejected over and over, they somehow persuaded Rep. Rita Martinson to introduce a whopper of a bill in Mississippi. (House Bill 725) Best I can tell, no naturopathic licensing bill has ever been introduced in the Mississippi legislature.  

Naturopaths are already practicing in Mississippi, they simply aren't licensed to do so. Let's look at a couple of their websites, to see what kinds of treatments naturopaths are already offering.  Here's "Sarita" Elizabeth Cox, who is also an acupuncturist. As a graduate of the Council on Naturopathic Medical Education-accredited National College of Natural Medicine, Cox would be eligible for naturopathic licensing should this bill become law.  According to her website, she offers "amethyst biomat treatments and rentals":

Offering far infrared heat waves and negative ionization, the amethyst biomat can be used for balancing and maintaining health as well as detoxification. It is paired with select meditative and brain wave altering headset audio to help change habit patterns, achieve relaxation and optimize health. As this quantum energetic is cumulative, three and six session packages are available. Amethyst can be added on to any treatment. Both the mini mat and full length professional mat are available for rental.

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15888 Hits
JAN
18
0

Chiropractors remind us why new state chiropractic bills should be defeated

The pace of Legislative Alchemy is picking up, with state legislatures all over the country either already in session or starting in the next few months. Last year, as I reported in detail over on SBM, chiropractors, naturopaths, acupuncturists and assorted other "CAM" practitioners had some pretty dismal outcomes. This was despite numerous bills to either get licensed as health care practitioners or, for those already licensed, expand their scope of practice.  

But don't rest easy. The bills are popping up all over, as you can see if you go to the Legislative Updates page. (And I know you will, so you can help defeat these bad bills in your state.) Just this week (and it's only January!) we added eight new bills covering chiropractic and naturopathy. We'll look at the naturopathic bills soon, but for this week we'll focus on chiropractors.

Chiropractors are trying to expand their scope of practice in three states and add some window dressing in another. In Arizona, they want to be able to prescribe muscle relaxants and other pain killers. Chiropractors and veterinarians could be certified in "animal chiropractic" in that state as well. In Nebraska, chiropractors want to perform physical and eye exams for school children and, in Virginia, physical exams for commercial drivers.  In Wyoming, chiropractors don't want to be known as just "chiropractors" anymore, so they got a bill filed to call themselves "chiropractic physicians."  

So it is with gratitude that we should view the actions of the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) and the International Association of Chiropractors (ICA) in the last couple of weeks. Both organizations have done us the favor of adding more evidence with which to argue that none of these bills should pass. (Not that we really need any more, but still.) 

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5442 Hits
JAN
11
4

A defense of the FDA's letter to Herbalife

The FDA wrote a letter to Herbalife, a dietary supplement manufacturer, in December. It was not a warning letter, mind you, just a letter saying the FDA is concerned about an Herbalife broadcast ad and YouTube video which, in the FDA's view, mischaracterized the FDA's role regarding dietary supplements. 

If the name "Herbalife" sounds familiar, it may be because of a very public battle going on between hedge fund investor William Ackman and the company.  Herbalife is a multi-level marketing company, which means people who distribute Herbalife products are compensated for the sales of others they bring is as Herbalife distributors.  Ackman thinks Herbalife is actually a pyramid scheme, and has made a billion dollar bet that the company's stock will decrease in value.  In November, Herbalife agreed to a $15 million settlement of a class action lawsuit brought by a distributor who alleged its business model is just that: a pyramid scheme. 

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Recent Comments
Guest — Rob
The font style you are using for quotes is difficult to read. A clean simple font without the effects would be much easier to rea... Read More
Monday, 12 January 2015 19:33
Guest — Rob
The font style you are using for quotes is difficult to read. A clean simple font without the effects would be much easier to rea... Read More
Monday, 12 January 2015 19:33
Janet Camp
I doubt that even one in 1,000 people would even know what the DSHEA is. Even fewer are aware that there is no need for even a dai... Read More
Friday, 16 January 2015 21:05
20097 Hits
JAN
04
2

2014: A losing legislative season for naturopaths, chiropractors and acupuncturists

In 2014, SFSBM's "Legislative Updates" tracked 35 bills impacting, for better or worse, CAM practitioners: naturopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, TCM and "alternative medicine practitioners."  It was a losing season for them, a winning season for us.  Let's review.

Naturopaths attempted to gain licensing with a broad scope of practice in 10 states. They want to be licensed as primary care physicians in all 50 states and their 2014 licensing bills reflected this desire.  They failed in 9. One bill, in New Jersey, remains pending because New Jersey is one of only 2 states (Virginia is the other) where 2014 bills carry over to the 2015 sessions.  Maryland did pass a licensing act, but it fell short of the PCP scope of practice (including drug prescribing privileges) naturopaths wanted.  Nor did they get their own regulatory board.  They will operate under the jurisdiction of the Maryland Board of Physicians.  In the 8 other states where licensing legislation was introduced, including New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Massachusetts, naturopathic licensing bills failed, and not for the first time.  

Naturopaths did get an expansion of their scope of practice in Connecticut, but, again, did not get prescribing privileges. In Arizona, they will now be able to practice "telemedicine," and in Utah, they will be able to perform minor office procedures and inject local anesthetics, nonscheduled prescription drugs and "natural substances" percutaneously in limited locations.  

On the other hand, a bill that would have eliminated important restrictions on naturopaths treating pediatric patients did not pass in Colorado, where they are barred from treating children under 2.  For patients under 8, they must advise parents about the CDC-recommended vaccination schedule, tell parents that they are not physicians, and advise them to have a relationship with a licensed pediatric health care provider. Those restrictions remain in place. A bill in Hawaii increased their continuing education requirements. 

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Yokomondo
There was a hearing a couple days ago on North Dakota's SB 2194: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/64-2015/bill-actions/ba2194.htm... Read More
Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:42
Yokomondo
There was a hearing a couple days ago on North Dakota's SB 2194: http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/64-2015/bill-actions/ba2194.htm... Read More
Thursday, 22 January 2015 11:42
7900 Hits
DEC
28
0

Keeping an eye on NCCAM research may become easier if new NIH policy adopted

According to JAMA,  a recent analysis of 400 clinical studies revealed that 30% had not shared results through publication or through results reporting in ClinicalTrials.gov within 4 years of completing the research.  Why? 

The scientific community has a disappointing track record for dissemination of clinical trial results. Numerous factors may contribute to these poor publication rates, including some that are beyond the control of researchers. Despite the best efforts of investigators, the results of some trials may never reach the threshold deemed necessary to merit the attention of journal editors and readers.

A big step forward in clinical trial transparency was made in November when the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health published proposals requiring researchers to report the results of certain trials at ClinicalTrials.gov.  

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5377 Hits
DEC
20
7

Guess who pioneered chemoprevention through diet?

Naturopaths and "functional medicine" practitioners would have the public believe that they are the true experts on nutrition and health.  Even though their nutritional advice contains a large serving of hooey and a big helping of dietary supplements, which they are happy to sell to patients.  

So it was with great interest that I read the obituary of Dr. Lee Wattenberg Saturday in the New York Times

. . . Dr. Wattenberg published a landmark paper in the journal Cancer Research that reviewed 36 years of animal studies on the effects that certain compounds had on the development of cancer. The paper laid the framework for understanding how these compounds work. . . .

He showed that cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and broccoli inhibit the development of carcinogens. He isolated a compound in garlic that decreased “by a factor of three” the chances that animals injected with cancer agents would develop that cancer. He found two chemicals in coffee that neutralize free radicals, which are harmful chemicals commonly implicated in the onset of cancer.

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Guest — EQ
"Was he a naturopath? A functional medicine practitioner?"Does it matter who pioneered what? The important question should be why ... Read More
Friday, 26 December 2014 02:54
Guest — EQ
"Was he a naturopath? A functional medicine practitioner?"Does it matter who pioneered what? The important question should be why ... Read More
Friday, 26 December 2014 02:54
Guest — Zach
Medicine today isn't exactly what it was in the 50s. What Dr. Wattenberg did would be a lot harder to do in today's medical envir... Read More
Friday, 26 December 2014 16:43
10895 Hits
DEC
14
18

Canadian reporters cover Florida health scam ignored in US

Want to see a scamster squirm?  Watch this Canadian Broadcasting reporter ask "Dr." Brian Clement some pointed questions about the Hippocrates Health Institute. 

The video and online news report about the interview are the latest installment in the CBC's excellent coverage of Hippocrates and its quack cancer treatments. This might make you think that Hippocrates is in Canada. But wait, isn't the background in that video kind of lush for Canada, especially in the winter?  And aren't the people dressed fairly lightly for the Canadian weather? That's because the interview takes place in West Palm Beach, Florida, which sits on the Atlantic Ocean about 1500 miles south of Toronto, where the CBC is headquartered.  West Palm, and the much tonier Palm Beach, are magnets for Canadians and Americans from the north who want to escape the snow, ice and cold. Hippocrates's 60-acre facility, with its peach-colored stucco buildings, vast green lawns, swaying palms and other semi-tropical flora, is in West Palm. 

The CBC was alerted that something might be amiss when two Canadian girls suffering from cancer were treated there.  Clement had come north to speak to the girls' aboriginal tribes, telling audiences, and the girls' parents, how the girls could "heal themselves" under his care.  Hippocrates offers quackery like wheatgrass, IV injections of vitamins, dietary supplements, foot baths to remove "toxins," raw foods diets and assorted other treatments which have zero evidence of effectiveness in treating cancer.

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Riley Williams II
"Hippocrates has been in operation since the 1950s. And where have Florida regulatory authorities been all this time? How about ... Read More
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 17:45
Riley Williams II
"Hippocrates has been in operation since the 1950s. And where have Florida regulatory authorities been all this time? How about ... Read More
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 17:45
Janet Camp
It came as quite a shock to hear that the CBC (I’m a regular listener) is headquartered in Florida!
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 23:05
27010 Hits
DEC
07
16

SFSBM pleased to report that its Report displeases Maryland naturopaths

The Science-Based Medicine blog has done a terrific job of educating the public about pseudo-medicines such as chiropractic, acupuncture and naturopathy.  As well, SBM has exposed the the tools of their trades -- homeopathy, the detection and correction of subluxations, colonic irrigation, moxibustion, cranial sacral therapy (the list could go on and on) -- for what they are, which is quackery.  But we who blog for SBM and some of its readers came to realize something more was needed to stem the tide of bamboozlement that befuddles the public daily.  Thus, the Society for Science-Based Medicine was formed as a separate organization where we who oppose this quackery and deceit could join together and do something about it.

We also realized that education alone was not enough.  The "root cause" of much of the pseudo-medicine unleashed on the public is the government itself, mostly the state legislatures. These legislatures, full of scientifically clueless legislators, pass state practice acts giving licenses to practice a health care profession to those imminently unqualified to diagnose and treat patients.  This gives practitioners what is tantamount to a license to steal from patients by using fake diagnoses such as spinal misalignments, adrenal fatigue and unbalanced qi. Insult is followed by the injury of fake treatments like subluxation correction, glandulars (dissected animal glands) and acupuncture. 

What to do? One thing we decided to do is to keep tabs on state bills which either give licenses to practitioners of pseudo-medicine or seek to alter their scope of practice, usually for the worse by expanding it. Even if SFSBM didn't have the resources to hire lobbyists to fight these bills, our readers can contact their legislators and give them a good dose of scientific reality.  

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Recent Comments
Nick J
as the sponsor of the resolution that created National Naturopathy Week, I'd recommend forwarding this to US Senator Mikulski (D-M... Read More
Monday, 08 December 2014 21:12
Nick J
as the sponsor of the resolution that created National Naturopathy Week, I'd recommend forwarding this to US Senator Mikulski (D-M... Read More
Monday, 08 December 2014 21:12
Riley Williams II
Glad to see my tax-deductible dollars at work.I cannot wait for the naturopathic response on Thursday.
Monday, 08 December 2014 22:08
12509 Hits
NOV
30
0

Jesus on toast: chiropractic version

Chiropractors finding subluxations on x-ray films has some disturbing similarities to people finding religious images on pieces of toast.  At least, that is the take-away message I got from a fascinating article in Chiropractic & Manual Therapies with the provocative (and long) title,

Gimme that old time religion: the influence of the healthcare belief system of chiropractic's early leaders on the development of x-ray imaging in the profession. 

The author explains, as we who faithfully consult SFSBM for our information already know, chiropractic subluxations are rooted in a religious paradigm. Chiropractic mythology holds that minute misalignments of the spine cause interruption in the flow of "Innate Intelligence" or a "Universal Intelligence" which runs down from the brain to all organs of the body via the nervous system. It is a form of vitalism, the idea that there is some supernatural force which exerts an influence on bodily function.  According to chiropractic belief, correction of these putative misalignments removes this impediment and normal functioning is restored. 

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6178 Hits
NOV
23
1

Energized plaintiffs sue energy drink manufacturers

Energy drink companies make some pretty revved-up claims for their products.  Red Bull's makers assert that their beverage "gives you wings" and "vitalizes the body and mind."  5 Hour Energy's label says it will provide "hours of energy now" with "no crash later." Monster Energy Drink will, according to its maker, hydrate you like a sports drink. One of the VPX Redline beverages is named "Xtreme Energy Drink."

What these drinks have in common, besides hyperbolic claims, is a huge amount of caffeine. Other ingredients range from substances that, like caffeine, are ok in moderation (sugar)but not in great quantities, to things you don't need at all (ginseng, "energy vitamins"). 

On Friday, Clay Jones, M.D., wrote a thorough post  on SBM about the dangers energy drinks pose to children, highlighting a recent study from the American Heart Association.  Researchers called for better labeling of energy drink’s high caffeine content and subsequent health consequences, which can include seizures and abnormal heart rhythms. 

Energy drinks aren't so great for adults either. Dr. Jones also discussed the health risks to everyone else as have Scott Gavura, BScPhm, RPh and Harriet Hall, M.D. 

How do the beverage manufacturers get away with it? Lack of adequate regulation. According to the FDA, while food labels are required to list the recommended dietary information for nutrients, caffeine is not a nutrient. If the energy drink contains dietary supplements, the industry-friendly DSHEA controls what must be disclosed on the label. 

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Guest — Arun Sharma
Hi.. Thank you for posting this blog and sharing this useful information this is very nice post about the energy drink compa... Read More
Friday, 19 June 2015 07:50
9973 Hits
NOV
09
8

Ms. America, Doctor of Chiropractic

The new Ms. America, crowned in August, is Stephanie Mills, a New Hampshire chiropractor.  Never heard of Ms. America?  Me either.  Miss America and Mrs. America, yes. But Ms. America is a new one. 

The Ms. America Pageant is a beauty contest for women 26 years old and above.  She can be married, divorced, widowed or single and must pay $1500 to enter, although if a potential contestant would like to take an advantage of the early bird special, entry is only $1199.  Competition is based on evening gown, interview, sportswear and on-stage question. Not having to appear in a swimsuit or have a talent is advertised by its promoters as a plus.

The winner gets "INSTANT CELEBRITY STATUS!" plus a crown, sash, scepter and a letter from the President of the United States.  One gets the impression from the website that the whole thing is rather second tier in the pageant world, although I admit I am no beauty contest expert. 

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DevoutCatalyst
Some (most ? many?) can't diagnose stroke, either, nor dial 911http://myfox8.com/2014/11/08/30-year-old-man-dies-after-visit-to-th... Read More
Monday, 10 November 2014 03:57
DevoutCatalyst
Some (most ? many?) can't diagnose stroke, either, nor dial 911http://myfox8.com/2014/11/08/30-year-old-man-dies-after-visit-to-th... Read More
Monday, 10 November 2014 03:57
Alan
Rather than condemn an entire profession, why not support the advanced practice/thinkers of the profession. Ultimately they will b... Read More
Monday, 10 November 2014 15:35
9932 Hits
NOV
02
4

Pretentious Pseudo-healthy Products

Do calories count anymore?  I wonder.  In my visits to the grocery store, at least once a week and often more frequently, I rarely see a product's being low in calories advertised as a plus.  What I do see is a lot of "no high fructose corn syrup," "non-GMO," "organic" and "gluten-free" plastered on packaging all up and down the aisle.  Of course, low calorie doesn't necessarily mean a product is healthy -- think "diet soda" -- but still.  Calories in < calories out is a pretty good way to lose weight, as long as you eat an otherwise healthy diet.  Fortunately foods generally low in calories -- fruits, vegetables and fish, for example -- are the ones you should be eating.  Sounds simple enough.

A few nights ago I ran across "Love Crunch Premium Organic Granola" at (surprise!) Whole Foods.  Those of you who read my post, "What Whole Foods Doesn't Tell You," over on the SBM blog, will have caught me in a broken promise here.  In the post, I deplored a magazine, "What Doctors Don't Tell You," found in the check-out aisle.  The magazine was chock-full of "alternative" health garbage, including downright dangerous advice on cancer treatment.  I swore, right there in front of everybody, that I would not darken the door of Whole Foods again as long as they continued to promote such nonsense.  

But the hour was late, Whole Foods was close, and I was jet-lagged.  I would need sustenance the next morning until I could make my way to a real grocery store.  I caved. Once inside, I found that Whole Foods had totally ignored  my rant against its pseudoscientific publications (if the company ever knew about it in the first place) and continued to stock "wellness" (sic) literature.  

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DevoutCatalyst
The complaint back in the 1970s was that cereal companies had conspired to addict consumers to their box cereals with the addition... Read More
Monday, 03 November 2014 12:32
DevoutCatalyst
The complaint back in the 1970s was that cereal companies had conspired to addict consumers to their box cereals with the addition... Read More
Monday, 03 November 2014 12:32
Guest — jpmd
I amuses me to see them tout "no high fructose corn syrup" then sell the 80% fructose agave syrup as an alternative sweetener.
Tuesday, 04 November 2014 20:28
9736 Hits
OCT
12
0

Should naturopaths sell dietary supplements to patients?

No, of course not. In my opinion, no one needs to go to a naturopath in the first place. Anything they do that's useful can be just as easily accessed from science-based health care professionals. No need to put yourself through all the quackery for some valid health tips. (Not convinced? Two must reads from "Naturopathic Medicine Week" over on Respectful Insolence: here and here.)

Legal and ethical considerations aside (we'll get to those in a minute), one would be well advised not to take any dietary supplement unless there is sufficient evidence for doing so. Because little evidence exists that dietary supplements are necessary to health or benefit a particular condition, it is likely that most people will never need to take a supplement. Besides that, even in the rare case of a particular dietary supplement being beneficial, there is absolutely no way to guarantee that it's safe because there is no pre-market regulation. That's not just me talking - the FDA itself will tell you this. So will the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements.  The FDA is charged by law with regulating supplements, but then hog-tied by Congress so that it can only play catch-up after something goes wrong.  

This lack of regulation has predictable consequences.  Independent testing of dietary supplements regularly turns up contamination with real drugs and other stuff that isn't supposed to be in there, like lead and mercury.   This is true for both the garden variety tablet, capsule or powdered form and the more "earthy" dried herbs and spices. (Think Spice Islands herbs and spices on your grocer's shelf, but in much bigger quantities.)

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10549 Hits
SEP
28
0

Chiropractors' attitudes toward drug prescription privileges

Chiropractic & Manual Therapies, an open-access chiropractic journal, has a new article out on chiropractors' attitudes toward drug prescription privileges. It is not itself a survey, but a narrative review of 7 surveys of chiropractors in Europe, Australia, North America and Mexico.  As with chiropractic in general, opinions are all over the board.

Those who oppose prescription privileges cited the loss of identity as a "drugless" profession.  The lack of chiropractic education and training in pharmacology and toxicology, which amounts to a paltry 12 hours, is also a barrier.  Note that this figure belies the ridiculous claim that chiropractors are able to function as "primary care physicians."  Let's assume this would even be possible without their scope of practice including prescribing rights. (It's not.) Chiropractic PCPs would still need a thorough knowledge of  pharmacology and toxicology to function safely and effectively in that role. It would be impossible to manage a patient without understanding his medications and how they affect him, even if you couldn't prescribe them. That fact alone disqualifies them as PCPs.  (There are many others, but we'll leave it there.)

And here's another scary thought.  According to the article, 

North American chiropractors as a group were of the opinion that only 39.8% of all pharmacetical prescriptions filled annually were clinically beneficial.  

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7042 Hits
SEP
21
0

Naturopathic Medicine Week 2014

The current Congressional Job Approval Rating is 13%.  This always makes me wonder: who are these people?  In case you need another reason to disapprove of Congress, here's a good one.  The Senate has once again passed, by unanimous consent, Senate Resolution 420

designating the week of October 6 through October 12, 2014, as "Naturopathic Medicine Week" to recognize the value of naturopathic medicine in providing safe, effective, and affordable health care. 

(To find the Senate and House Resolutions, you'll need to search here.  Type "naturopathic" into the word search box and specify the 113th Congress.  If I try to link for you, the search times out and won't make a usable link.)

Like last year, the resolution was sponsored by Sen. Barbara Mukulski (D-MD). One of the three co-sponsors was the soon-to-be-retired Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA). No surprises there. House Resolution 508 does the same thing, but it has been referred to the Subcommittee on Health.  

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4087 Hits
SEP
14
0

Dietary supp execs incarcerated for civil contempt

After 10 years of litigation over misleading claims made by dietary supplement manufacturer Hi-Tech Pharmaceuticals, two of its executives were recently ordered to jail for contempt.  Jared Wheat and Stephen Smith surrendered to federal marshals on September 5, per the court's September 2 order, and are presumably cooling their heels as guests of the U.S. government until they can bring themselves into compliance with the court's previous orders.

The whole sordid saga is an excellent case study demonstrating why the current laissez-faire regulation of dietary supplements is inadequate to protect consumers.

In 2004, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against Hi-Tech, Wheat and Smith (among others) for marketing dietary supplements with unsubstantiated claims.  It was not until 2008 that the court issued a permanent injunction against the defendants, ordering them to quit making these claims unless they were backed by "competent and reliable scientific evidence." According to the FTC, the court held Hi-Tech, Wheat and Smith, as well as other parties 

liable for more than $15.8 million in deceptive sales of Thermalean, Lipodrene, and Spontane-ES. Thermalean and Lipodrene are purported weight loss treatments. According to the defendants’ advertisements, they were clinically proven to cause substantial weight loss, including a 19 percent loss in total body weight. Spontane-ES is a purported treatment for erectile dysfunction. According to the defendants’ advertisements, it was clinically proven to safely and effectively treat 90 percent of men with erectile dysfunction. The court permanently barred the defendants (except now-dissolved National Institute for Clinical Weight Loss) from engaging in deceptive conduct in the future and also ordered Terrill Mark Wright, M.D., to pay $15,454 for his deceptive endorsement of Thermalean.

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4342 Hits
SEP
06
0

Selling house brand homeopathy lands Whole Foods in court

Consumers who purchased Whole Foods house brand homeopathic remedies filed suit in August against the upscale supermarket chain, alleging fraud and violation of state consumer protection laws.  The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, alleges the plaintiffs purchased "365 Be Well" Cough Ease, Cough Ease for Kids, Flu Ease and Arnica Montanta 30C homeopathic remedies.  The complaint asks the court to certify the lawsuit as a class action, representing potentially hundreds of thousands of purchasers.  The plaintiffs seek an unspecified amount of monetary damages but, unlike some of the other suits against manufacturers of homeopathic remedies, it does not ask for injunctive relief in the form of giving consumers more information about how homeopathic remedies are made.  

This suit is the latest in a number of similar class actions against homeopathic remedy manufacturers, such as Boiron and Heel.  To my knowledge, all of those have settled, with consumers receiving small refunds.  In the Boiron suit, Boiron also agreed to better explain just how diluted homeopathic remedies are, but it can still list ingredients in Latin, essentially reducing the population of buyers who can actually understand what they are getting to high school Latin teachers and scholars of the classics. These settlements cover a large number of purchasers in a wide geographic area over an extended time period, thereby buying protection against further suits over whatever product purchases are within those parameters. However, future purchases can't be barred and I imagine the pattern will simply repeat itself as soon as enough purchasers have been bamboozled into buying more homeopathic remedies.  A little time, more suits. 

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4548 Hits
AUG
31
0

Homemade snake oil: ionized water

My recent jaunt through one of America's great natural treasures was desecrated by snake oil.  

A day trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park included a stop at a restaurant in Cherokee, N.C., the unfortunately touristy town in the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians reservation.  Here, the hulking Harrah's Casino rises up in an incongruous heap among the majestic mountains of the park.  Had we not been hungry, we would have sped right through and back to nature.  But stop we did, and while waiting to place my order I spotted a "Free Edition" of "Healthy Living News."  Couldn't resist.

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5241 Hits
AUG
24
0

Dietary supp industry needs a dose of its own medicine

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), a dietary supplement industry trade group, is in a tought spot.  On the one hand, it must aggresively promote the appearance of being sincerely concerned about consumer protection. On the other hand, it must agresssively work to prevent any meaningful regulation that would protect consumers. 

In a just-issued press release, the CRN announced an on-line tool (for members only) that would track Federal Trade Commission enforcement actions against dietary supplement companies.  

"CRN's searchable compilation indicates that the weight loss category generated the highest settlement costs at $438.4 million, with immunity claims next in line with settlements of $47.2 million and impermissible cancer claims at a distant, but relevant, third place, with claims settlements of $5 million.  Said Mr. [Steve] Mister [CRN President & CEO]"We're now also starting to see enforcement trends in anti-aging claims and claims addressing diabetes. The data illustrates how active FTC has been in recent years and should be a warning to all companies that the agency will move aggressively to remove claims that it believes mislead consumers."

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6027 Hits