Consumer Health Digest #15-29
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
July 26, 2015
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.
AGs ask laggard companies to enable robocall blocking. The attorneys general of 44 states and the District of Columbia have sent a joint letter urging AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, and CenturyLink to provide their customers with effective tools to help stop the flood of unwanted robocalls. Last year, the FTC received 3 million complaints from the public about unwanted calls, many from scammers who flagrantly violate the law. Technology exists that can stop most robocalls before they reach landline and mobile phones, but these companies have been unwilling to implement them. Consumers who are concerned about this can take three immediate actions:
- If you have an Internet-based (VOIP) line, registering it with Nomorobo will block most robocalls from coming through.
- If you do not, ask your company to enable blocking; and if it refuses, complain to the Better Business Bureau and your state utility commission.
- Regardless of your phone status, sign Consumers Union's petition.
- Was neither trained licensed nor trained as a health professional:
- Marketed something she called the "DMSO Protocol," which was supposed to consist of DMSO, vitamin C and Vitamin B-17 (also known as Amygdalin or Laetrile). However, a forensic chemical analysis of some of the products found neither DMSO nor Laetrile.
- Distributed marketing materials claiming the infusion she sold would cut through malignancy "like a scythe through a wheat field."
- Charged $12,000 or more for a first round of treatment and $3,600 for each subsequent round.
- Instructed clients to forego traditional treatments of radiation and chemotherapy.
- Falsely claimed that Camelot Cancer Care had a 60% success rate of producing remission of cancer or stopping a tumor's growth.
If convicted, Long faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and a fine up to $250,000 on each count. This week, U.S. Marshals began seizing money and property that are subject to forfeiture. Long appears to have fled to Mexico where she is continuing to offer her treatment. Casewatch has posted the application for a warrant to seize property subject to forfeiture that describes how the FDA investigated Long's activities in 2012 and 2013.
Applied kinesiologist facing board action and a civil suit. Timothy Francis, D.C. practices chiropractic in Las Vegas, Nevada and conducts applied kinesiology seminars throughout the country. In 2015, the Chiropractic Physicians' Board of Nevada charged him with acting improperly toward a student whom he met at one of his seminars and later became a patient. The notice of charges states:
- In 2012, Francis and the student began a relationship it that included diagnosis, treatment, and sexual relations.
- Using applied kinesiology muscle testing, Francis diagnosed venereal diseases, a pregnancy, and other problems that the woman did not have.
- Francis made no medical records regarding any of his diagnoses or treatment.
Applied kinesiology is an unscientific method of testing muscle strength to detect the alleged presence of disease, vitamin deficiency, and other problems. In addition to complaining to the board, the woman has filed a civil suit alleging sexual battery, sexual harassment, slander, lack of informed consent, and negligence. The suit also names two seminar sponsors as defendants.
Naturopath disciplined for administering ukrain. Michael Uzick, N.M.D., who operates the Genesis Natural Medicine Center in Tucson, Arizona, has been reprimanded by the Arizona Naturopathic Physicians Medical Board for administering ukrain (a dubious cancer remedy) to a patient. The clinic Web site states that he is one of a handful of naturopaths board-certified in "naturopathic oncology." Dr. Edzard Ernst has summarized the history of ukrain.
This page was posted on July 26, 2015.