Consumer Health Digest #18-42

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
October 21, 2018

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H., with help from Stephen Barrett, M.D. 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.

Eleven charged with insurance frauds involving surgeries on addicts. The Orange County (California) district attorney's office has charged the alleged perpetrators of a scheme to fraudulently bill insurance companies millions of dollars for surgical implantations of naltrexone "pellets." [Five doctors, two administrators, and four body brokers charged with insurance fraud for exploiting drug addicts to bill insurance for non-FDA approved and dangerous surgeries. Orange County District Attorney News Release. Sept 26, 2018] Naltrexone, which is used to help narcotic addicts deal with withdrawal symptoms, is FDA-approved for use in pill and injectable form but not for surgical implantation. The prosecutors have alleged:

No disciplinary actions against any of the doctors in the case are currently listed in public records made available by California's Department of Consumer Affairs.

Anti-fluoridation activities investigated. NBC News has examined some of the ways that opponents of community water fluoridation have misled people. Fluoridation's benefits and safety are well-established and nearly 75% of community water systems in the U.S. are fluoridated. The NBC report notes:

[Chuck E. Science says fluoride is good for kids. So why are these towns banning it? NBC News. Oct 17, 2018]

"Creative" billing by chiropractors described. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has published an excellent summary of what the author calls "creative new ways" that chiropractors are using to scam the insurance system. They include:

[Bowerman D. Shady chiros manipulate patient joints, insurance claims. Journal of Insurance Fraud in America. Feb 13, 2018]

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This page was posted on September 22, 2018.