Consumer Health Digest #07-33
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 28, 2007
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 hits major spammers of alleged hoodia and HCG products. The FTC has obtained a temporary restraining order and asset freeze against Sili Neutraceuticals, LLC and Brian McDaid, d/b/a Kaycon, Ltd. The agency charged them with violating anti-spam laws and making false claims that their “HoodiaHerbal” and “Hoodia Maximum Strength caused weight loss and that their “Perfect HGH” and “Dr-HGH" would elevate human growth hormone levels and dramatically reverse the aging process. Court documents indicate that the FTC spam database received over 85,000 spam messages, many of which were sent using Web form hijacking whereby the the messages are sent by using forms on innocent third-party sites so that they appear to come from the victim site. [FTC stops spammers selling bogus hoodia weight-loss products and human growth hormone anti-aging products. FTC news release, Aug 23, 2007]
Pennsylvania chelationist charged with manslaughter. Roy Kerry, M.D., whose administration of chelation therapy resulted in the death of a 5-year-old autistic child, is being prosecuted. The criminal police complaint accuses him of "administering medical care in a reckless or negligent manner which caused the death." The charges include (a) involuntary manslaughter, (2) endangering welfare of children, and (c) recklessly endangering another person. Kerry is also facing a civil suit by the child's parents and disciplinary action by the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine. There is no scientific evidence that autism has a toxic basis or that chelation therapy has any therapeutic value for autistic children.
Florida chelationist disciplined for unsanitary conditions. Leonard Haimes, M.D. , who practices chelation therapy in Boca Raton, Florida, has been reprimanded, fined $7,500, assessed $3,730.64 in costs, and placed on probation for failing to correct unsanitary conditions in his office. The Palm Beach County Health Department investigated his clinic after two of his patients developed serious infections related to chelation. The administrative complaint indicates that two subsequent visits revealed that he had not followed the recommendations for correcting the situation.
Performance report on Arizona homeopathic licensing board published. The Arizona Auditor General has released it 2007 performance audit and sunset review of the Arizona Board of Homeopathic Examiners. The report said that if the state legislature chooses to continue the Board, three steps should be taken to address three issues that limit public protection:
- The Board appears to allow conduct that the state medical and osteopathic boards consider unsafe or unprofessional. For example, it has allowed two physicians to continue to practice although their other licenses have been revoked. The Arizona legislature should consider forming a study committee to determine the best way to help ensure that one board's actions do not negate another board's actions.
- Consumers may be confused by a physician holding both a homeopathic and a medical or osteopathic license. As a result, they may not know whether the treatment being provided is standard or nontraditional. To ensure that patients know they are receiving nontraditional treatment, the legislature should require homeopathic physicians to obtain informed consent.
- The board’s name should be changed to reflect the fact that it authorizes acupuncture, chelation therapy, and several other nonstandard practices that have nothing to do with homeopathy.
Because the homeopathic board was actually formed to enable maverick physicians to practice dubious treatments, the recommended measures would offer little consumer protection.
This page was posted on August 30, 2007.