Consumer Health Digest #08-13

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
March 25, 2008

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.

California State Auditor castigates chiropractic board. The California State Auditor has released a 119-page report that accuses the State Board of Chiropractic Examiners of violating State laws and procedural requirements. The report states that the board dragged its heels on consumer complaints, violated open meeting laws, and took other inappropriate actions. Chirobase has posted a summary and the full text of the report.

TCM diagnostic process blasted. Acupuncture Watch has summarized seven investigations that found widespread inconsistencies in the diagnosis and treatment offered by Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners. One study found that acupuncture literature does not provide a consistent framework for evaluating patients, and the others found that when multiple practitioners see the same patient, their TCM diagnoses vary considerably. The report concludes:

TCM theory and practice are not based upon the body of knowledge related to health, disease, and health care that has been widely accepted by the scientific community. TCM practitioners disagree among themselves about how to diagnose patients and which treatments should go with which diagnoses. Even if they could agree, the TCM theories are so nebulous that no amount of scientific study will enable TCM to offer rational care. [Barrett S. Why TCM diagnosis is worthless. Acupuncture Watch, March 26, 2008]

Cancer scammer loses medical license. Roy C. Page, M.D. of Memphis Tennessee, has settled charges against him by permanently surrendering his medical license. The consent agreement states that between 1997 and 2003, Page treated at least 74 cancer patients with what he referred to as “Gene Activated Therapy” or “Theracine"—a vaccine said to be developed from blood and tumor samples taken from the patient. Page represented that he was conducting research, but he did not file an Investigational New Drug Application with the FDA or collect any data for analysis. In 2003, after the FDA notified him that it would seek to disqualify him as a clinical investigator, Page signed a consent agreement in which he agreed to permanent disqualification. In 2004, he pleaded guilty in federal court to a felony drug misbranding charge, for which he was fined $2,000 and sentenced to one year of probation.

Australian "Alternative" doctor may lose license. Dr. Michael Tait is facing disciplinary action by the Medical Board of Queensland over his nonstandard treatment of nearly 150 mostly terminally ill cancer patients since 2002. Tait has also been accused of failing to properly assess his patients' conditions and of overcharging—with some paying $20,000 for his treatment. In 2007, he was ordered to stop selling or prescribing apricot kernels (or any similar substance), immune response therapy, hydrogen peroxide, photodynamic therapy, or ozone therapy. The current board action could lead to his being struck from the medical register. Tait founded the International Academy of Cancer Treatment Alternatives (IACTA), which, according to his Web site, "is becoming recognised as the world authority on alternative approaches for the treatment of cancer." In 2006, he pleaded guilty to nine counts of obtaining and selling human growth hormone, which is a restricted drug. [McKenna M. Soccer legend's doctor faces inquiry. The Australian, March 27, 2008]

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This page was posted on March 26, 2008.