Consumer Health Digest #20-22

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 7, 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.

Ty Bollinger's mask advice debunked. Ty Bollinger who operates the "TheTruthAboutCancer" Web site and its Facebook page, which has more than 1.1 million followers, has been harshly criticized for advising people not to wear face masks to protect others from developing COVID-19. [Barrett S. Ty Bollinger unmasked. Quackwatch. June 3, 2020] Others have criticized him for repeatedly promoting "unproven and potentially dangerous cancer treatments" and "egregiously false content about COVID-19."

Business ordered to stop distributing misbranded drugs. A federal judge has issued a permanent injunction that bars Rahsan Hakim and Adoniiah Rahsan, doing business as Sundial Herbal Products, from distributing products that they falsely claimed can cure, treat, or prevent a wide variety of diseases, including syphilis, cancer, and HIV/AIDS. [Federal judge enters order of permanent injunction against New York company for distributing unapproved drugs. FDA news release. June 1, 2020] The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Sundial in 2013.

Refunds announced for "anti-aging" pill purchasers. The Federal Trade commission (FTC) is mailing full refunds totaling nearly $149,000 to 1,310 people who bought ReJuvenation, which was deceptively marketed as a cure-all for cell damage, heart attack damage, brain damage, deafness, and other age-related ailments. ReJuvenation pills contained amino acids and herbal extracts. The FTC's complaint charged that Maria Veloso used direct mail, postcards, emails, and multiple websites to market the product nationwide between May 2014 and February 2016 and Quantum Wellness and its CEO, Fred Auzenne, took over the operation in early 2016. The two court orders resolving the FTC's allegations bar the defendants from making false and unsubstantiated health claims and require them to pay a total of $660,000 to the Commission, which it is using to provide the refunds. [FTC sending refund checks totaling almost $149,000 to consumers who bought ReJuvenation "anti-aging" pill. FTC press release. June 1, 2020]

Questionable practices for promoting healthy daily routines criticized. Skeptical Inquirer magazine has published the third of a three-article series of sidebars from the book Pseudoscience in Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy edited by Stephen Hupp (Cambridge University Press, 2019). [Dubious claims in psychotherapy for youth part III: Externalizing issues and daily routines. Skeptical Inquirer. 44(3):53-56, 2020] The article debunks six practices:

Regulatory terminology for potential COVID-19 therapies clarified. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has explained five terms that are used to describe the regulatory status of potential COVID-19 therapies: (a) emergency use authorization, (b) expanded access (compassionate use), (c) FDA-approved, (d) investigational treatments, and (e) off-label use. [Understanding the regulatory terminology of potential preventions and treatments for COVID-19. FDA Consumer Update. May 29, 2020]

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This page was posted on June 7, 2020.