Consumer Health Digest #01-47

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
November 19, 2001

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

FTC orders bogus bioterrorism defense product marketers to stop. The Federal Trade Commission is sending e-mail warnings to Web site operators who suggest mail-order products to treat illnesses like anthrax that their claims must be removed from the Internet. After more than 200 such sites were found, the FTC warned about 40 of their operators to pull the information immediately. The agency's campaign is based on information gathered with help from the FDA, more than 30 state attorneys general, and the California Department of Health Services. The review included such items as gas masks and protective suits; mail sterilizers; biohazard test kits; homeopathic remedies; and dietary supplements such as colloidal silver, zinc mineral water, thyme, and oregano oil as treatments for contamination by biological agents. [FTC cracks down on marketers of bogus bioterrorism defense products: Agency tells web site operators get off the Net or face prosecution. FTC news release, Nov 19, 2001]

Iowa bans marketing of alleged breast enlargement device. The Iowa Attorney General has obtained a court order barring New Womyn and its president Dan Kaiser, from marketing their "Stimulations VII" vacuum device within or from the State of Iowa and is asking the court to order the defendants to reimburse purchasers and impose a civil penalty up to $40,000 per violation. In March 2001, the Iowa District Court for Polk County issued an injunction after the defendants refused to comply with an investigative demand for customer lists and evidence that the device worked as advertised. At a court hearing on November 19, Dr. Stephen Barrett testified that the device was not recognized by experts as safe and effective for its intended purpose. The judge has set up a timetable for submission of written arguments and will probably issue a ruling in January 2002. Quackwatch has posted additional details.

Life Chiropractic College facing financial crisis? Moody's Investor Service has lowered its rating on Life University bonds and assigned a negative outlook to the rating. The modification is based mainly on problems with accreditation, falling enrollment, and negative cash flow. The Moody's report states that Life's enrollment has declined significantly since 1996 and its entering class has dropped steadily from over 1,000 in 1994 to 525 in 2001. [Moody's lowers underlying rating on Life University's $33 million series 1995 A and B bonds from Ba2 to Baa2, and assigns a negative outlook. Municipal Credit Research, Oct 8, 2001]

New edition of classic nutrition text. The International Life Sciences Institute has announced publication of the 8th edition of Present Knowledge of Nutrition, an 820-page professional-level book that covers nutrients, nutrition-related diseases, and other fundamentals of nutrition science. The price is $89 plus shipping. To order (code 811074), telephone ILSI Press at (202) 659-0074.

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This page was posted on November 20, 2001.