Consumer Health Digest #19-27
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
July 7, 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.
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Anti-vax chiropractor ordered to pay $100,000. The Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors has ordered Dena Churchill, D.C. to pay CN$100,000 over a period of ten years to partially cover costs of the CN$178,831.34 investigation of her misleading anti-vaccination writings on her blog and Facebook page. [Gorman M. Former chiropractor ordered to pay CN$100K related to anti-vaccine posts. CBC, July 4, 2019] Churchill previously surrendered her license to practice chiropractic and entered into a settlement in which she admitted to "incompetence arising out of mental incapacity." [Barrett S. Anti-vax chiropractor Dena Churchill surrenders license. Casewatch. March 2, 2019]
Cost-related insulin underuse reported. Researchers have found that 51 (25.5%) of 199 patients at the Yale Diabetes Center for whom insulin was prescribed in the prior 6 months reported cost-related insulin underuse. The finding was based on response to a survey administered between June and August of 2017. Compared to those who used insulin as prescribed, those who underused insulin tended to report lower incomes and have worse control of blood sugar levels. The response rate to the recent survey was 52%. [Herkert D. and others. Cost-related insulin underuse among patients with diabetes. JAMA Internal Medicine. 179:112-114, 2019] In an invited commentary about the study, Elisabeth Rosenthal, M.D., author of An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back (Penguin Press, 2017) noted:
The for-profit drug and devicemakers who sell insulins and insulin delivery devices have not followed the example of Banting et al. [who discovered and isolated insulin in the early 1920s] They have increased the price of their products year after year because, simply, they can. [Rosenthal E. When high prices mean needless death. JAMA Internal Medicine. 179:114-115, 2019]
In an online survey in 2018 of 1,478 respondents from 90 countries with type 1 diabetes, 162 (25.9%) USA respondents reported having rationed insulin in the previous year in contrast to only 6.5% of respondents from other high-income countries. [T1 International. Costs and Rationing of Insulin and Diabetes Supplies: Findings from the 2018 T1 International Patient Survey]
Parental alienation treatments of children criticized. Developmental psychologist Jean Mercer has reviewed the literature about parental alienation treatments (PATs) of children of high-conflict divorced parents who prefer one parent and resist or refuse visitation with the other parent. PATs, which are generally proprietary and court-ordered, separate children from the preferred parent, sometimes for years, and enforce contact with the rejected parent. [Mercer J. Examining parental alienation treatments: problems of principles and practices. Child and Adolescent Social Work Journal. 36:351-363, 2019] Mercer concluded:
- Children's severe resistance or refusal to visit the non-preferred parent is frequently misattributed to influences by the preferred parent "parental alienation."
- Some concepts that are foundational to diagnosis of parental alienation and PATs are implausible.
- "Parental alienation" is not a standard diagnostic category, although it has proponents who present it that way.
- PATs have the potential to harm children and their families such as through abuse by the non-preferred parent and through separation from the preferred parent.
- Children's reports of abuse may be accurate even if unsubstantiated by investigation.
- No adequate evidence has been reported to support claims that these treatments are beneficial.
- Proponents of the parental alienation concept make unjustified claims that children who resist or refuse visitation will be harmed if not given a PAT.
- Social workers involved with high-conflict families should be very cautious about accepting claims made by family members or by mental health professionals about parental alienation.
- While it is possible that visitation resistance or refusal can be caused by actions of the preferred parent, such a connection cannot be demonstrated simply by observing the resistance or refusal.
This page was revised on July 10, 2019