Consumer Health Digest #11-29

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
September 8, 2011

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. 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 zaps "Acne Cure" software marketers. Marketers of two mobile phone applications have signed consent agreements under which they must refrain from making baseless claims that their products could successfully treat acne by generating colored lights. ["Acne Cure" mobile app marketers will drop baseless claims under FTC settlements. FTC News release, Sept 11, 2011] In both cases, users were advised to hold the display screen next to the area of skin to be treated for few minutes daily while the application was activated.

These cases are the first the FTC has brought against health claims in the mobile application marketplace.

Trustworthy health insurance guidance available. Two Web sites have posted practical information about the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Commonwealth Fund has posted a timeline of PPACA provisions. Consumers Union has summarized what has happened during the law's first year. The Georgetown University Health Policy Institute publishes excellent state-by-state guides to insurance plans.

FTC annual reports archived. The FTC annual reports dating back to 1916 have been posted on Casewatch. These summarize the enormous number and variety of scams that the FTC has attacked.

"Bioenergy healer" criticized. Quackwatch has posted a skeptical report on Zdenko Domancic and his method of "bioenergy therapy." Zdenko practices and operates a clinic in Slovenia. Videos show Zdenko touching the recipients or waving his hands near their body. Proponents claim that during the past 30 years, he has helped more than a million people and "received spectacular results in every classified disease."

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This page was revised on September 11, 2011.