Consumer Health Digest #19-37

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
September 15, 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.


Lawsuit alleges conspiracy to limit access to affordable medicines. Allegations in a lawsuit filed by PharmacyChecker.com in the Southern District Court of New York include:

PharmacyChecker.com is requesting a preliminary injunction requiring that its Web site and blog site be immediately removed from the NABP's "Not Recommended List" and requiring CSIP's members, including Google, Microsoft, and other Internet gatekeepers, to reverse their censoring. [Pharma front groups have conspired to keep drug prices high by blocking online information about lower-priced options. PharmacyChecker.com news release, Aug 14, 2019]


Problem of tainted drugs examined. An impurity called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) that may cause cancer has been found at low levels along with other nitrosamine impurities in blood pressure and heart-failure medicines of the class known as angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs) since last year. Recalls were announced. Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that some medicines with ranitidine as the active ingredient including the brand name drug Zantac have been found to contain NDMA. [Statement alerting patients and health care professionals of NDMA found in samples of ranitidine. FDA statement, Sept 13, 2019] Congress has asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to evaluate FDA's supervision of the relevant factories. As noted in a Bloomberg Businessweek report:

Until recently, regulators were confident they were properly assessing the potential risk in generics production. Now they're realizing that a system so dependent on trust and self-regulation has vulnerabilities. They know the process sometimes ends with potentially dangerous pills in bottles. Now they have to uncover how it begins. [Edney A and others. Carcinogens have infiltrated the generic drug supply in the U.S. Bloomberg Businessweek, Sept 12, 2019]


CVS brand Algal-900 DHA dietary supplement settlement reached. A proposed settlement has been reached with CVS Pharmacy, Inc. ("CVS") in a class action lawsuit about the statements made on the labels and packaging of a CVS-branded Algal-900 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) dietary supplement. People who purchased the product in the United States between November 15, 2008 and September 30, 2016 that contained claims of "clinically shown to improve memory" or "clinically shown memory improvement" on the label or packaging can submit a claim form to receive a refund and other benefits at the Worth v. CVS Pharmacy, Inc. Settlement Website.

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This page was posted on September 15, 2019.