Consumer Health Digest #14-30
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 17, 2014
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.
Paul Fleiss, M.D., dead at 80. Professor William M. London has posted a lengthy report on the activities of Paul M. Fleiss, M.D., who was on the wrong side of many quackery-related issues. [London WM. Medical Renegade Paul M. Fleiss, M.D. Dead at 80. Skeptic Ink Blog, Aug 12, 2014] The report notes:
- In 1995 he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and making false statements to a federally insured bank related to a mortgage application for a home that his daughter (Heidi Fleiss, the Hollywood Madam) was using for purposes of prostitution.
- In 2007, the California Medical Board disciplined him for failing to properly care for two children who were HIV-positive. One was a 4-year old boy whom Fleiss failed to adequately diagnose or treat. The other was a 3-year-old girl who was HIV-positive and subsequently died of AIDS-related pneumonia. The girl was the daughter of Christine Maggiore, who had become an outspoken denier of HIV as the causal agent of AIDS after she tested positive for HIV.
- He was a prominent advocate of raw (unpasteurized) milk.
- He supported a delayed vaccination schedule rather than the standard schedule recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Illegal cancer drug marketer convicted. Sabahaddin Akman, a Turkish citizen who owns Ozay Pharmaceuticals in Istanbul, Turkey, has pleaded guilty to charges of smuggling misbranded and adulterated cancer drugs into the United States. According to the indictment:
- Akman, along with his employee, Ozkan Semizoglu, obtained the illicit drugs and used shipping labels to conceal the illegal nature of the shipments, including customs declarations falsely describing the contents as gifts. They also broke large drug shipments into smaller packages to reduce the likelihood of detection and seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection authorities.
- The drugs included Neupogen, Herceptin, Rituxan, Gemzar, Taxotere, Eloxatin, Zometa, and Venofer. To retain potency and sterility, some of these must be kept at a constant temperature of between 36 and 46 degrees and not shaken or frozen, but Akman and Semizoglu did not provide appropriate temperature protection.
It would be interesting to know who were the buyers or potential buyers of these drugs. Akman's sentencing is scheduled for November 18th.
Unlicensed practitioner investigated. Quackwatch has updated and expanded its investigative report on Monte Kline, an unlicensed practitioner who operates clinics in Oregon where patient management is guided by a device that supposedly measures electromagnetic "imbalances" and suggests products to correct them. About ten years ago, Kline and his clinic (Pacific Health Center) settled a lawsuit by the Oregon Attorney General with a consent agreement that permitted him to continue practicing as long as he make certain disclosures and did not violate Oregon's laws against practicing without a license. Kline represents himself as a highly educated, experienced, and qualified professional who can help people with a wide range of health problems. But the report concludes that (a) he has had almost no relevant training, (b) many of his beliefs clash with established scientific knowledge, and (c) the ZYTO device he uses offers fanciful diagnoses and makes recommendations that have no plausible rationale and have never been appropriately tested.
This page was posted on August 19, 2014.