Consumer Health Digest #20-25

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
June 28, 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.

Chiropractor tailoring practice-building pitch to pandemic. In its fifth report about the promotion of dubious neuropathy treatments by chiropractor Philip Straw, the NBC4 I-Team (Los Angeles) spotlighted a Web page that Straw and his business partner Vivienne Reign use to recruit chiropractors to sign up for the "5-DAY NEUROPATHY CASH MACHINE MASTER CLASS." [Johnson C. Dreschler P. Chiropractic company accused of swindling thousands out of customers uses pandemic as selling point. NBC4 Los Angeles. June 25, 2020] The banner for the page reads: "Take The 5 Day Quarantine Cash Machine Challenge Starting May 18th." By taking the challenge, chiropractors can supposedly: "In 5 Short Days Learn How This One Simple Device and In-Home Treatment Plan Can Add an Additional $25,000+ Per Month in Revenue to Your Chiropractic Practice Even During Quarantine." The I-Team announced that it has received more than 50 complaints from consumers who paid thousands of dollars for neuropathy services not covered by insurance but provided by Straw's Southern California business Superior Health Centers and former business Optimal Health Straw Chiropractic. The services include "lightsource lights" that consumers say don't work and an electrical device that is alleged in a lawsuit to have burned a patient's leg. A profile of Reign says that she has led a group called We Have Rights that has organized large back-to-work protests calling on California and local leaders to end social-distancing orders aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. The profile also notes that Reign and her husband live in a $3 million home in Newport Beach and are facing several lawsuits related to the neuropathy clinics [Smith JE. Meet the woman who spearheaded California's recent back-to-work protests. San Diego Union-Tribune. May 10, 2020]

Deceptive advertising of light therapy device halted. Michigan-based Physicians Technology LLC, Willow Labs LLC, and company owners Dr. Ronald Shapiro and David Sutton have agreed to settle a Federal Trade Commission complaint which alleged that they:

The proposed settlement order prohibits the challenged conduct and imposes a $22 million judgment, which will be partially suspended after Shapiro and Sutton each pay $200,000, based on their ability to pay. [FTC puts an end to deceptive advertising of light therapy device. FTC press release. June 25, 2020]

Manufacturers of unapproved injectable "homeopathic" drugs warned. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued warning letters to four companies for selling unapproved injectable drug products labeled as homeopathic that can pose serious risks to patient health and violate federal law: Hevert Pharmaceuticals, LLCMediNatura, Inc.8046255 Canada, Inc., doing business as Viatrexx; and World Health Advanced Technologies, Ltd. Many of the drugs were labeled to contain potentially toxic ingredients such as nux vomica (which contains strychnine), belladonna (deadly nightshade), mercurius solubilis (mercury), and plumbum aceticum (lead) that present additional risks of serious harm when delivered directly into the bloodstream. Drugs labeled as homeopathic may also cause significant and even irreparable harm if they are poorly manufactured. Viatrexx was also cited for substandard manufacturing practices for sterile drugs. The foreign manufacturers of the injectable drugs sold by Hervert Pharmaceuticals, LLC; MediNatura New Mexico, Inc.; and Viatrexx were also placed on import alert 66-41 to stop these drugs from entering the U.S. [FDA warns four manufacturers of unapproved injectable drugs labeled as homeopathic. FDA news release. June 18, 2020]

Banker methods of natural vision improvement scrutinized. The offbeat methods for vision improvement espoused by Deborah Ellen Banker, M.D. (1952-2007) continue to be promoted at the Web site by John Monroe, of Boulder, Colorado, who describes himself as a "Natural Vision Educator." [Barrett S. A skeptical look at Deborah E. Banker, M.D. Quackwatch. June 26, 2020] An investigation of Dr. Banker's background and current promotional claims at has revealed:

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This page was posted on June 29, 2020.