Consumer Health Digest #15-48
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
December 6, 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.
ACP recommends generics. The American College of Physicians has issued a position statement calling for wider prescription of generic drugs. [Choudrey NK and others. Improving adherence to therapy and clinical outcomes while containing costs: Opportunities from the greater use of generic medications: Best practice advice from the Clinical Guidelines Committee of the American College of Physicians. Annals of Internal Medicine. Published online, Nov 24, 2015] The advice is based on a literature review which concluded:
- Research shows that generic medicines are just as effective as brand-name medicines.
- Many brand-name medicines are being used when equally effective and less expensive generic options are available.
- By using more generic medicines, patients can save a lot of money without having any impact on their health care or outcomes. In addition, billions of dollars in health care spending could be saved.
- Generic medicines decrease out-of-pocket costs for patients. Some research shows that less expensive generic medicines could help patients stay on their treatment plans. This is especially helpful for patients with chronic conditions that require long-term drug treatment.
- Some patients and physicians wrongly assume that lower costs mean lower effectiveness, even when research shows the opposite.
- Clinicians should prescribe generic medicines, when possible, in place of more expensive brand-name medicines.
Top-10 worst anti-science sites listed. Brian Dunning has updated his list of Top-10 Worst Anti-Science Web Sites, five of which provide low-quality health information and advice:
- Natural News (promoted conspiracy theories that medical industry secretly wants to keep everyone sick, and conspires with the food industry to make people unhealthy, all driven by a massive plot of greed to sell poisonous medicines)
- Mercola.com (aggressive promotion of "quack medical products")
- DoctorOz.com (his web site is little more than "clickbait luring people . . . who might be looking for actual health advice to click on ads for Dr. Oz's "trusted sponsorship partners.")
- Foodbabe.com (her advice is "a crap shoot of common knowledge, fearmongering, gross scientific illiteracy, misinformation, and ideological nonsense.")
- Chopra.com ("claiming ayurvedic medical benefits from what amounts to little more than spiritualist word-salad mumbo jumbo, " including "'detoxification' . . . an implausible spiritual solution to a nonexistent physical problem."
Mercola's activities were recently detailed in a report from the Genetic Literacy Project, which indicates that he has donated more than $1 million to groups that promote unfounded health-related ideas.
British MMS prescriber suspended. The British General Medical Council has suspended the registration of Dr. Finbar Magee. [Houston L. Alternative medicine row doctor is suspended by GMC. Belfast Telegraph, Nov 26, 2015] MMS (Miracle Mineral Solution), an industrial-strength bleach derivative that has been marketed for many health problems, has been subjected to enforcement actions in several countries because it is ineffective and dangerous. Last May, an RTE Prime Time television documentary focused on Magee's prescription of MMS for the treatment of an autistic child. His interim suspension follows a panel ruling last December which restricted his practice to closely supervised practice at his clinic. Magee has operated Synergy Healthcare in Belfast, Ireland, for many years, which offers a wide range of offbeat treatments. The GMC's concerns about him have not yet been disclosed but are likely to be related to his advocacy of MMS. Interim suspension is usually followed by a fitness-to-practice hearing.
This page was posted on December 6, 2015.