Consumer Health Digest #14-39

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
October 26, 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.

Recalls only partially effective in removing drugs from dietary supplements. A study has found that a significant number of dietary supplement and herbal products for which the FDA initiated a Class I recall due to adulteration with drug ingredients were still adulterated. Class I recalls, which are voluntary, involve products that the FDA believes have a reasonable possibility of causing serious adverse consequences or death. Since 2004, about half the Class I drug recalls have involved such products. The researchers identified and tested 27 products that had (a) been recalled between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2012; (b) were available in July or August 2013 directly from websites of supplement manufacturers or retailers (as opposed to general e-commerce sites such as; and (c) had the same name, manufacturer, and distributor listed on the purchased product as in the FDA recall. The products, which were marketed for sports enhancement, weight loss, or sexual enhancement, were purchased an average of 34 months after the recall. At least one pharmaceutical adulterant was identified in 18 of the 27 products. It was not apparent whether the products were manufactured before or after their recall dates. The researchers believe that more aggressive enforcement of the law, changes to the law to increase the FDA's enforcement powers, or both will be required if sales of such products are to be prevented in the future. [Cohen PA and others. Presence of banned drugs in dietary supplements following FDA recalls. JAMA 312:1691-1693, 2014]

Old chiropractic business manual uncovered. Software engineer Dan Kegel has discovered a 61-page manual from the Chiropractic Business Institute that appears to have circulated in the 1950s. The manual states:

Many of the sales pitches are geared toward (a) persuading patients to continue to have weekly care long after their symptoms have resolved, (b) undermining trust in medical doctors, and (c) promoting chiropractic for preventing as well as treating the gamut of health problems. The themes are still common in currently available chiropractic practice-building courses.

Klinghardt offshoot ordered to stop making unsubstantiated claims. The British Advertising Standards Authority has upheld a complaint made by Dr. Stephen Barrett against the Institute of Resonance Medicine, a facility in that operates the ResoMed Clinic in Northern Scotland. The organization, which is headed by Lothar Zieger, M.D., is described on its Web site as "the official training institute" responsible for teaching Dietrich Klinghardt's methods of Applied Neurobiology to holistic healthcare practitioners throughout the British Isles. In July 2014, Dr. Barrett challenged three claims related to the ResoMed Clinic:

When the Institute failed to respond to a query, the ASA concluded that the claims were misleading and referred the case its compliance team. Dr. Klinghardt, who practices medicine in the State of Washington, claims that "autonomic response testing" can identify toxins, infections and other health problems by noting what happens to muscle strength when when various substances are placed within the patient's "energy fields."

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This page was posted on October 26, 2014.