Consumer Health Digest #20-03

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
January 19, 2020


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.


Couple suing promoters of chiropractic neuropathy treatments. In the fourth of a series of investigative reports about a Southern California-based chiropractic business that aggressively markets non-validated neuropathy treatments, the NBCLA I-Team has told the story of patients Donna and Harvey Stone who say:

The Stones are suing Optimal Health/Straw Chiropractic and its owner, chiropractor Philip Straw. Attorneys for the Stones want other patients to know that they likely have legal recourse too. Optimal Health/Straw Chiropractic shut down in January 2019, but shortly afterward opened as Superior Health Centers, which appears to use identical marketing materials. [Johnson C. Roher C. Couple accuses SoCal chiropractic business of swindling them out of $18K. NBC Los Angeles. Jan 16, 2019] The lawsuit is scheduled for trial in February. The complaint alleges medical negligence in the treatment of Harvey, elder abuse/financial abuse, negligent infliction of emotional distress, fraud/intentional misrepresentation, and concealment. 


Concerns that factual arguments will backfire allayed. Full Fact, the UK's independent factchecking charity, has published a brief report which concludes that "factchecking does help to inform citizens and backfire effects are rare rather than the norm. We still need more evidence to understand how factchecking content can be most effective." [Sippit A. The backfire effect. Does it exist? And does it matter for factcheckers? Full Fact, Aug 2019] The report notes:


Alleged pyramid scheme temporarily shut down. A federal court has granted the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC's) request to temporarily shut down an alleged pyramid scheme known as "Success By Health," and to freeze the assets of the company and its executives. [FTC acts to shut down 'Success by Health' instant coffee pyramid scheme. FTC press release. Jan 16, 2019] In its complaint, the FTC alleged that Success By Health and its executives James "Jay" Dwight Noland, Jr., Lina Noland, Scott A. Harris, and Thomas G. Sacca:

The FTC also alleges:


Multilevel marketing blasted. Business writer Mona Bushnell has noted that many (and some would say nearly all) multilevel marketing companies operate as pyramid schemes in which the salespeople make money primarily by recruiting more and more downline sales associates, not by direct sales of products. [Bushnell M. MLMs are preying on the dream of entrepreneurship. Business.com. Aug 22, 2019] She asserts that:


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This page was revised on January 20, 2020.