Consumer Health Digest #19-08

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
February 24, 2019

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.

Feedback sought on regulation of "unconventional" practitioners. The Medical Board of Australia is considering two options for regulation of medical practitioners who provide "complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments":

The Board prefers Option 2, which it says would include improved safeguards and access to better information while still enabling consumer choice. [Public consultation on clearer regulation of medical practitioners who provide complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments. Medical Board of Australia. Feb 2019] The concerns expressed in the consultation document include:

Comments on the proposal can be sent to until the close of business on April 12, 2019.

Chiropractor who manipulated infant banned from treating children under 12. Andrew Arnold, a Melbourne-based chiropractor who posted a video on his Facebook page showing his treatment of an approximately two-week-old infant, has entered a legally binding undertaking with the Chiropractic Board of Australia in which he has agreed "not to treat children from birth to 12 years." He also agreed "not to publish, display, promote or provide materials, information or advice that relates to the assessment, management or treatment of children from birth to 12 years, including . . . the publication of material on social media, blogs, and/or any other platform on the internet." [Australian Associated Press. Chiropractor who manipulated baby's spine banned from treating children under 12. The Guardian. Feb 21, 2019] The video showed Arnold holding the baby upside down and providing manual and Activator adjustments. Victorian Health Minister Jenny Mikakos called for an investigation. [Australian Associated Press. Video of chiropractor treating baby labelled 'deeply disturbing.' The Guardian. Feb 19, 2019] Calls to ban spinal manipulation of infants in Australia have been reported. [Call to ban chiropractors treating infants as 'horrifying' footage of Australian baby emerges. 1newsnow (New Zealand). Feb 19, 2019]

"iV Cocktails" promoter barred from making unsupported health claims. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has approved a final order settling charges against a Texas-based marketer and seller of intravenously injected therapy products (iV Cocktails) who allegedly made a range of deceptive and unsupported health claims about their ability to treat serious diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and congestive heart failure. The FTC's complaint, announced in September 2018, alleged that A & O Enterprises Inc., doing business as iV Bars Incorporated and iVBars, and its owner and operator Aaron K. Roberts deceptively advertised, promoted, and sold a line of iV Cocktails, including one called the Myers Cocktail, to consumers seeking "alternative treatments" for major diseases. In marketing its products online, the iV Bars respondents allegedly made a range of unsupported health and efficacy claims for the treatments. The final order settling the FTC's charges prohibits the company, which operates clinics in north Texas; New Braunfels, Texas; and Vail, Colorado, and its owner from making such claims, unless they can be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. [FTC approves final consent order against company and owner who allegedly made unsupported health claims for intravenously injected therapy products. FTC press release. Feb 21, 2019]

Warning issued about young donor plasma infusion treatments. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers to be cautious about establishments that claim that infusions of plasma obtained from young human donors will treat or prevent normal aging, memory loss, dementia, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, heart disease, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The FDA notes that such claims are not backed by adequate evidence and that the infusions can cause infections, severe allergic reactions, acute lung injury, body swelling, and difficulty breathing. Each infusion can cost up to thousands of dollars. [Important information about young donor plasma infusions for profit. FDA. Feb 19, 2019]

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