Consumer Health Digest #14-42

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
November 23, 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.

Herbalife class-action suit settled. Herbalife Ltd has agreed to settle a class-action suit by Dana Bostick and other former distributors. Bostick's 350-page complaint, filed last year in California, charged that the company and various distributors had grossly exaggerated the business opportunity, that there was little retail market for products he bought for resale, that he ultimately lost money despite considerable effort to build a business and that most new distributors are doomed to fail. The settlement agreement calls for payment of $15 million in cash plus up to $2.5 million for product returns. Herbalife also agreed to (a) clearly disclose a Statement of Average Gross Compensation as part of its member application process, (b) eliminate separate product packing and shipping fees, (c) discourage prospective members from incurring debt to pursue the Herbalife business opportunity, and (d) prohibit requiring prospects to stock up on products in order to become distributors.

Skepticism expressed toward Airrosti claims. Airrosti (Applied Integration for the Rapid Recovery of Soft Tissue Injuries) is described on its promoter's Web site as an approach that determines the "root cause" of 26 types of painful conditions and provides "full resolution after an average of three appointments." However, after reviewing the evidence upon which these claims are made, Harriet Hall, M.D., has concluded:

The information they sent me doesn't justify the claims the company makes (that it is proven, through extensive third-party research and analysis, to be the most effective, efficient, and affordable option for resolving musculoskeletal conditions and that it has measurably prevented surgeries, hospitalization, MRIs, injections, and pharmaceuticals). If Airrosti can really provide less expensive and more effective treatment than other sources of care, I'm all for it; but they haven't made their case. [Hall HA. Can Airrosti really resolve most chronic pain in just three visits? Science-Based Medicine Blog, Nov 4, 2014]

The Airrosti Web site indicates that the treatment is administered by chiropractors at 151 locations nationwide.

Meridian tooth analysis criticized. Dental Watch has published a report on "meridian tooth charts" that depict alleged "energetic" relationships between the teeth and other parts of the body. More than 50 such charts are displayed on the Internet. Most users are "holistic" dentists, but some naturopaths and medical doctors are also involved. The dentists who use them typically make false diagnoses, remove teeth and/or amalgam fillings unnecessarily, and prescribe irrational products. The report encourages consumers who encounter users of these charts to ask their state attorney general and/or the relevant licensing board to investigate. [Barrett S. Meridian tooth charts signify poor judgment. Dental Watch, Nov 22, 2014]

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This page was posted on November 23, 2014.