Consumer Health Digest #15-36

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
September 13, 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.

Bill targets skyrocketing drug prices. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) have introduced a bill intended to lower prescription drug prices, which are the highest in the world. The Prescription Drug Affordability Act of 2015 (S.2923) would:

A recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll that asked about the first three of these measures found that they have wide public support.

British regulators criticize thermography claims. The British Advertising Standards Authority has ordered Medical Thermal Imaging Ltd t/a to stop claiming that thermography (a) had been approved by the FDA for breast cancer screening, and (b) was medically recognized and could successfully be used for body screening, pain visualization and early stage disease detection, including as a tool for the diagnosis of breast cancer. In 2013, the ASA ordered the company to stop claiming that thermography could "detect active breast abnormality before its [sic] possible with mammography." Thermographic devices portray heat emission from body surfaces as images with each color or shade representing a specific temperature level. The scientific consensus is that thermography has not been proven effective as a screening tool for breast cancer and is not a substitute for mammography.

Gallup report on chiropractic has mixed findings. A Gallup survey of about 5300 adults ages 18 or older has found that 14% had used chiropractic care within the previous 12 months, which is higher than the 8% reported by the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Survey. The Gallup-Palmer College of Chiropractic Inaugural Report: Americans' Perceptions of Chiropractic also found that more than half of U.S. adults view doctors of chiropractic positively and consider them effective at treating neck and back pain. However, more than 40% strongly agreed or agreed somewhat that chiropractic care is too expensive and "requires too many visits." A more detailed analysis of the findings is awaiting publication in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics.

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This page was posted on September 14, 2015.