Consumer Health Digest #17-20
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
May 14 , 2017
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. Its primary focus is on health, but occasionally it includes non-health scams and practical tips.
Feds raids televangelist's office. Local media outlets have reported the North Texas headquarters of televangelist Benny Hinn has been raided by U.S. Postal Service inspectors and IRS criminal investigators. [Nickell J. Televangelist Benny Hinn investigated—again. Center for Inquiry, May 5, 2017] Hinn hosts a daily TV show out of a studio in California, but Benny Hinn Ministries and his World Healing Center Church are based in Grapevine. In 2007, Hinn was one of several religious leaders who were the subject of a Senate Finance Committee investigation that questioned the use of church-owned airplanes, luxury homes and credit cards by pastors and their families. The investigation ended in 2011 with no definite findings of wrongdoing. [Zoll R. Televangelists escape penalty in Senate inquiry: Pastors teach 'prosperity gospel,' which teaches that God wants to bless faithful with riches. Associated Press, Jan 7, 2011]
WHO's promotion of acupuncture criticized. Loretta Marron, Chief Executive Officer of the Friends of Science in Medicine (Australia) has criticized the World Health Organization's long-time promotion of acupuncture. [Marron L. Why is WHO guilty of woo? The HealthWatch Newsletter, 104:1-2, 2017] She states:
- For many years, WHO's Web site contained a long list of diseases and disorders that could be treated with acupuncture.
- The "evidence" for this list came from a 1979 report, drafted by a Chinese integrative medicine "doctor."
- In 2003, WHO revisited the effectiveness of acupuncture and gave it a ringing endorsement.
- In 2014, following lobbying by Friends of Science in Medicine, the document was removed, but WHO has never refuted the claims, and practitioners still refer to it on thousands of Web pages.
Science-based "CAM" journal stops publication. The journal Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapy ceased publication at the end of 2016. Publishers Wiley and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society decided to close it due to low numbers of article submissions and subscribers. Edzard Ernst, M.D., arguably the most scholarly evaluator of the literature on non-standard methods, served as editor in chief throughout FACT's 21-year existence. Drs. Stephen Barrett and William M. London served as its North American editors during its final four years.
Consumers Union supports legislation to lower drug prices. Consumers Union has endorsed two pieces of legislation intended to make drugs more affordable.
- The Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act would empower Medicare to negotiate for the best possible price of prescription medication for America's seniors who are enrolled in Medicare Part D. Current law bans Medicare from negotiating drug prices. The bill would help cut costs for more than 37 million seniors and boost Medicare savings.
- The Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act would authorize the secretary of Health and Human Services in two years to allow importation of drugs from other advanced countries.
Despite this advocacy of importation, CU's publications (Consumer Reports and Consumer Reports on Health) fail to tell their readers that legitimate Canadian pharmacies that are safe to deal with can be located through PharmacyChecker.com.
This page was posted on May 15, 2017.