Consumer Health Digest #12-19

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 7, 2012

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.

Resveratrol researcher accused of falsifying data. The University of Connecticut has concluded that Dipak K. Das, Ph.D., a professor in its Department of Surgery and director of the Cardiovascular Research Center, was guilty of 145 counts of fabrication and falsification of data and that the university had notified eleven journals about this problem [Scientific journals notified following research misconduct investigation. UConn Today, Jan 12, 2012]. In recent years, Das had gained attention for his reports on allegedly beneficial properties of resveratrol. As of June 2012, four of the journals have retracted twelve of his papers, many of which were repeatedly cited by others [Oransky I. Retraction count for resveratrol researcher Dipak Das rises to 12. Retraction Watch Web site, June 3, 2012]. In 2011, a systematic review with 21 co-authors concluded that, "the published evidence is not sufficiently strong to justify a recommendation for the administration of resveratrol to humans, beyond the dose which can be obtained from dietary sources." [Vang O and others. What is new for an old molecule? Systematic review and recommendations on the use of resveratrol. PloS One 6(6): e19881. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019881, 2011] Curiously, Das was one of the co-authors. Quackwatch has additional information about resveratrol.

Plavix discount program improperly advertised. Now that the patent for Plavix has expired, Bristol-Meyers Squibb and Sanofi have begun offering a program that supposedly enables uninsured consumers to get brand-name Plavix for $37 per month, which is about 1/6th of cost through regular channels. (Plavix, which inhibits blood clots in people with cardiovascular disease, is one of world's top-selling drugs, with total sales in 2010 of about $9.4 billion.) However, the Plavix Choice program appears to have serious problems in its implementation:

Dr. Stephen Barrett would like to hear from people who have had any experience with this program.

Supplement violator may curb sales. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has reported that Valerie Saxion will stop selling dietary supplements within Texas. [Barbee D. Fort Worth supplement firm sued by AG is ceasing sales in Texas. Star-Telegram, June 8, 2012] Saxon, who refers to herself as a naturopath, has for many years sold supplement products with claims that they were effective against many types of diseases. The products were sold under the brand name "Alternative Health Labs." In August 2011, the Texas Attorney General filed a lawsuit which stated:

The suit asks the court to issue an injunction and assess financial penalties.

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This page was posted on June 10, 2012.