Consumer Health Digest #19-17

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
April 28, 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.


Prolonged antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease criticized. The Association of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Disease Canada (AMMI Canada) has issued a position statement, endorsed by five Canadian medical organizations, that objects to: (a) diagnosing people who have non-specific symptoms such as body pain, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating with Lyme disease, and (b) prescribing long-term antibiotic treatment, which does not improve persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease. AMMI Canada strongly encourages evidence-guided, compassionate, and comprehensive care for patients with persistent symptoms attributed to Lyme disease, as offered by the Complex Chronic Diseases Program at BC Women's Hospital. [Canada's infectious disease experts caution against prolonged courses of antibiotics for Lyme disease. AMMI Canada Press Release. March 17, 2019] AMMI Canada has also issued a fact sheet about Lyme disease that answers common questions about the disease and its treatment. Noting AMMI Canada's announcement, Scott Gavura concluded:

People who believe they have "chronic Lyme" are suffering and deserve compassionate treatment. But giving medicine not based in evidence is magical thinking, not good science. Regrettably, practitioners that do believe they are treating "chronic Lyme" continue to propagate erroneous information and offer dubious treatments despite good evidence they are ineffective. Multiple organizations in Canada, the United States and worldwide caution against the indiscriminate use of intravenous antibiotics for the treatment of symptoms attributed to Lyme disease. [Gavura S. Avoid prolonged antibiotics for "chronic Lyme". Science-Based Medicine. Apr 18, 2019]

"Chronic Lyme disease" propaganda film criticized. Under Our Skin, which promotes long-term antibiotic treatment for "chronic Lyme disease," has been severely criticized by Braden MacBeth for:

MacBeth also noted:

The chronic Lyme disease cult is very passionate and has a long history of protesting the investigation of doctors treating Lyme outside established guidelines, and harassing doctors who do not want to incorporate pseudoscientific treatments into their practices. Whenever a "Lyme Literate" physician is investigated by the medical boards or taken to trial for questionable practices, a chronic Lyme cult protest can always be found. Researchers and physicians who speak out against chronic Lyme are often the target of harassment campaigns in the form of baseless complaints to the board of medicine, death threats, protesting their place of work, and libelous online blogs. 

[MacBeth B. A review of Under Our Skin, a cult classic. Science-Based Medicine. Apr 8, 2019]

Telemarketers charged with misleading benefit and job seekers. The Federal Trade Commission has filed charges alleging that Day Pacer LLC and Edutrek LLC along with owners Raymond Fitzgerald, Ian Fitzgerald, and David Cumming violated the Telemarketing Sales Rule by: (a) initiating over five million unsolicited outbound telemarketing calls to numbers on the Do Not Call Registry since 2013, and (b) providing substantial assistance to other telemarketers who placed such calls. The defendants allegedly obtained consumers' phone numbers from websites that claim to help people apply for jobs, health insurance, unemployment benefits, Medicaid coverage, or other forms of assistance. Instead of offering these services, the defendants and their affiliates allegedly called consumers to market vocational or post-secondary education programs. [FTC charges telemarketing operation with misleading job seekers and making millions of illegal, unsolicited calls. FTC Press Release. April 12, 2019]



Previous Issue || Next Issue

This page was posted on April 28, 2019.