Consumer Health Digest #16-11

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
March 27, 2016

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.

Trump's MLM involvement laid bare. The Washington Post reported that Donald Trump claims that his involvement with the multilevel marketing company Ideal Health merely allowed them to use his name for marketing purposes and that he was not involved in the company's operations. But the paper noted that "statements by him and other company representatives—as well as a plethora of marketing materials circulating online—often gave the impression of a partnership that was certain to lift thousands of people into prosperity." [Swanson A. The Trump Network sought to make people rich, but left behind disappointment. Washington Post, March 23, 2016]

Antivaccination film showing canceled. The Tribeca Film Festival, which had planned to screen an anti-vaccination film, has canceled the showing in response to protests from the scientific community. Robert De Niro, a founder of the festival, wrote: "My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for." [Goodman S. Robert De Niro pulls anti-vaccine documentary from Tribeca Film Festival. The New York Times, March 26, 2016] The film, "Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe," was directed and co-written by Andrew Wakefield, the disgraced physician whose paper claiming a connection between autism and measles was retracted by The Lancet and whose license was revoked for ethics violations and his failure to disclose financial conflicts of interest.

Another cancer scammer convicted. Antonella Carpenter, 71, former owner of Lase Med Inc., has been convicted of conducting a fraudulent scheme claiming to cure cancer. [Winfrey K. Tulsa woman who claimed to cure cancer guilty on 29 counts. News on 6, Feb 10, 2016] Carpenter, who is a physicist and not a medical doctor, operated clinics in Broken Arrow and Owasso, Oklahoma. In February 2016, following a 15-day trial, the jury found her guilty on 29 of the 41 counts alleged in a superseding indictment. The indictment stated:

Carpenter could be sentenced to up to 20 years in prison. A criminal forfeiture money judgment will be entered against her of approximately $1,102,160 which represents proceeds through her fraudulent scheme. In 2011, in a civil suit for fraud and deceptive practices, a jury awarded $2.5 million to the the survivors of a woman whom Carpenter had treated for breast cancer. [2.5 million dollar verdict against Lase Med Inc. and Antonella Carpenter. McMath Woods Web site, June 16, 2011]

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This page was posted on March 27, 2016.