Consumer Health Digest #19-50

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
December 22, 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.

Mercola's funding of anti-vax advocacy exposed. An investigative report has revealed that osteopathic doctor and "natural centered" health-products entrepreneur Joseph Mercola:

NVIC has displayed the logo for on its home page. A site affiliated with NVIC refers to as one of the most popular health and wellness sites. [Satiate N, Sun LH. A major funder of the anti-vaccine movement has made millions selling natural health products. Washington Post. Dec 20, 2019] Quackwatch has summarized Mercola's history of regulatory actions and unsubstantiated promotional claims for health products.

Acupuncturist arrested for practicing without a license. In September 2019, the Rhode Island State Police arrested Tadeusz Sztykowsi—also known as "Dr. Tad"—for practicing acupuncture without a license. [Dr. Tad arrested for practicing acupuncture without a license. GoLocalProv News, Sept 12, 2019] Sztykowsi owns the Centers for Integrative Medicine and Healing in Providence, Rhode Island, which was incorporated in 1995 and assumed its current name in 2014. In addition to operating the clinic, Sztykowski has hosted The Dr. Tad Show on WPRO talk radio and appeared on WPRI Media, a pay-to-broadcast TV channel. The Rhode Island Department of Health, which regulates the licensing and practice of acupuncture, has taken several actions against Sztykowski:

Contempt action filed against dietary supplement marketers. The FTC and the State of Maine have filed a contempt motion alleging that that Health Research Laboratories, LLC (HRL), Whole Body Supplements, LLC, and their owner Kramer Duhon continued to promote their products using unproven claims that they can treat and cure diseases, in violation of a 2018 FTC settlement order. The supplement marketers allegedly violated the order by: (a) claiming—without the required scientific evidence—that their Ultimate Heart Formula (UHF), BG18, and Black Garlic Botanicals supplements could treat, cure, or mitigate cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and hypertension, and (b) mailed advertisements claiming that another supplement, Neupathic, cures, treats, or mitigates diabetic neuropathy and diabetes, also without the required supporting scientific evidence. Their mailers touted these supplements as a "miraculous natural solution" for life-threatening diseases. The 2018 FTC settlement stemmed from false and unsupported claims about two other supplements, called BioTherapex and NeuroPlus, and required that defendants have at least one randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to support any claim that their products effectively cure, mitigate, or treat diseases. [FTC, State of Maine file contempt action against dietary supplement marketers. FTC press release, Dec 18, 2019]

Shortfalls hamper ending the HIV epidemic. According to a new Vital Signs report, "Ending HIV transmission: test, treat, and prevent," by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

[HIV testing, treatment, prevention not reaching enough Americans. CDC newsroom release, Dec 3, 2019]

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This page was posted on December 23, 2019.