Consumer Health Digest #17-32

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 20, 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.


Manitoba reduces chiropractic coverage. Dynamic Chiropractic has reported that the Government of Manitoba has cut CN$4.8 million from its annual subsidy for chiropractic care and reduced the number of covered visits from 12 to 5 per year and the per-visit amount from CN$12.30 to CN$8.29. [Manitoba cuts chiropractic. Dynamic Chiropractic, Aug 2017] The report notes that Ontario delisted chiropractic in 2004 and Alberta did so in 2008, leaving Manitoba as the only Canadian province providing coverage for all residents. A Manitoba Chiropractic Association spokesperson said that the majority of Manitobans will still be able to access the care they need because 75% of patients are treated in seven visits or less. [Gerster J. Gov't goes ahead with chiropractic cuts, reduces max annual visits. Winnipeg Free Press, June 1, 2017]


Top Russian scientists call homeopathy "dangerous pseudoscience." The Russian Academy of Sciences has declared that homeopathy "has no scientific basis" and endangers people who believe it is effective. A memorandum issued by the Academy's Commission against Pseudoscience and Falsification of Scientific Research concluded that attempts to verify the success of homeopathic treatments had failed for over 200 years. Its report urged the media to present homeopathy as a pseudoscience on a par with magic, healing, and psychic practices. [Dearden L. Russian Academy of Sciences says homeopathy is dangerous 'pseudoscience' that does not work. The Independent, Feb 7, 2017]


British chelationist facing serious charges. The UK General Medical Counsel is investigating Dr. David O'Connell's use of secretin and chelation therapy at his autism clinic. [Chaplain C. Chelsea doctor suspended over claims he administered 'dangerous' autism treatment to children. Evening Standard, Aug 17, 2017] While the investigation is pending, he is barred from carrying out any consultations or treating any patient for autism-related matters, or providing online advice or information related to autism. The status of his case can be followed on the General Medical Council's Web site by searching with his registry number (1394131) and following the links.


FTC warns against "NIH grant" scams. The FTC has reported that telephone scammers are pretending to be calling from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). [Miranda C. Scammers impersonate the National Institutes of Health. FTC scam alert, Aug 17, 2017] The callers tell people they have been selected to receive a $14,000 grant from the NIH, which they can get by paying a fee through an iTunes or Green Dot card, or by giving their bank account number. The FTC Web site has 28 other health-related scam alerts.


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This page was posted on August 20, 2017.