Consumer Health Digest #17-33

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 27, 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.


TINA attacks Goop advertising. Truth in Advertising has asked the District Attorneys of Santa Clara and Santa Cruz Counties to investigate Goop's marketing claims and take appropriate regulatory action. [TINA.org takes Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop-y claims to regulators. TINA.org, Aug 27, 2017] The letter states:

TINA.org has cataloged a sampling of more than 50 instances in which the company claims, either expressly or implicitly, that its products—or third-party products that it promotes—can treat, cure, prevent, alleviate the symptoms of, or reduce the risk of developing a number of ailments, ranging from depression, anxiety, and insomnia, to infertility, uterine prolapse, and arthritis, just to name a few.


Australian doctor warned to stop vaccine exemption activity. The Australian Health Practitioner Registration Agency is proposing to revoke the registration of Dr. John Piesse, who operates the Natural Healing Centre and the Natural Institute of Integrative Medicine in the province of Victoria. Press reports say that the regulators believe Piesse is providing unjustified vaccine-exemption letters to parents who request them. Pace was given four days to state why his license should not be revoked. [Davey M. Melbourne GP accused of helping parents avoid vaccinations reprimanded 13 years ago. The Guardian, Aug 25, 2017] Meanwhile supporters have raised thousands of dollars to help with his defense. In 2001, a professional review committee concluded that Piesse had (a) billed Medicaid Australia for too many long and prolonged consultations, (b) ordered inappropriate laboratory tests, and endangered patients by failing to appropriately investigate patient symptoms of possibly serious conditions (such as cancer, meningitis, depression, anemia), and (c) used multiple doses of B-vitamin injections from vials intended for single use. In 2004, the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria directed that Piesse receive a reprimand, be counseled, repay Medicare benefits totaling A$18,179, and be disqualified for 18 months from all group A1 services. The order took effect in 2006 after the appeals process ended.


FDA homeopathy-related warning letters indexed. Homeowatch has posted an index of warning letters sent by the FDA to 50 companies that marketed homeopathic products with illegal claims during the past 30 years. The list is not complete because some letters issued years ago no longer appear on the FDA Web site.


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This page was posted on August 27, 2017.