Consumer Health Digest #14-46

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
December 21, 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.

BMJ study blasts "Dr. Oz" and "The Doctors." Canadian researchers have concluded that the advice given on "Dr. Oz Show" and "The Doctors" is untrustworthy. [Korownyk C and others. Televised medical talk shows—what they recommend and the evidence to support their recommendations: A prospective observational study. British Medical Journal, Dec 17, 2014] After evaluating 80 randomly selected statements made on each show, the researchers concluded:

The full text of the study is available online.

Manipulation under anesthesia ring charged with insurance fraud. Seven people and a Florida company have been indicted for their roles in a multi-million dollar health-care fraud conspiracy involving chiropractic manipulation under anesthesia (MUA). The accused are Physicians Surgical Group (PSG), a medical billing company headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida; Christopher Liva, Edward Liva, Carolyn Via, all of Boca Raton; Mark Fritz, of Coral Springs, Florida; John Nickels, M.D., of Highland Heights, Ohio; John Fortuna, D.C., of Avon, Ohio, and Antony Simone, D.C. of Cleveland. The Livas, Fritz, Nickels, Fortuna, Simone and the company are charged with one count each of conspiracy, wire fraud, and health care fraud; and all are charged with at least one count of money laundering. The indictment states:

Herbalife ordered to remove misleading ad. The FDA has asked Herbalife Ltd to remove a YouTube video in which Vassilos K. Frankos, Ph.D., claimed that when he was director of dietary supplements at the FDA, he "oversaw nutritional supplements, making sure they were safe and effective." The FDA's letter pointed out that "as Herbalife and Dr. Frankos should know . . . the FDA is not authorized and does not review dietary supplements for effectiveness" and does not usually review them for safety. A copy of the letter was sent to the Federal Trade Commission, which is known to be investigating Herbalife's marketing practices. Visitors to the video's URL now get a message saying that the video is "private."

Dentists will promote fluoridation through social media campaign. The American Dental Association (ADA) House of Delegates has voted to allocate $500,000 to promote fluoridation through Facebook, YouTube, other social media platforms, and search-engine optimization to increase the prominence of ADA information in Internet searches. The issue was brought forward by members who notice that inaccurate information on the Internet had been increasing. ADA statistics indicate that since 2011, 46 states have faced fluoridation challenges at the state or local level. [Crozier S. Resolution OKs social media campaign for fluoridation. ADA News, Dec 8, 2014]

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This page was posted on December 21, 2014.