Consumer Health Digest #20-41

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
October 18, 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.

Consumers warned not to use corrosive salve products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a new warning to consumers not to apply any corrosive salve products such as black salve to the skin. Such products are not approved to treat or cure any skin condition, particularly not skin cancer. Claims on websites that such products can treat or cure cancer, boils, moles and skin tags are false. The FDA has identified 24 cases of bad side effects associated with black salve. Fifteen were reported within the past five years. Some of the product users were permanently disfigured and their cancers progressed. The FDA is aware of at least one death that resulted from a person who used a corrosive salve rather than pursuing proven cancer therapies. [Do not use: black salve is dangerous and called by many names. FDA Consumer Update, Oct 13, 2020] The FDA suggests these red flags for products to avoid:

Quackwatch has additional infiormation about corrosive cancer salves.

Sellers of cesium chloride products warned. The FDA has posted warning letters issued to five companies that have been mrketing dietary supplements containing cesium chloride:

In a February 2020 public health alert, the FDA warned consumers and health care professionals to avoid using dietary supplements containing cesium salts, primarily cesium chloride. In July 2018, the FDA alerted health care professionals of significant safety risks associated with cesium chloride in compounded drugs. Cesium chloride is sometimes promoted as an alternative treatment for cancer; however, no cesium-chloride-containing products have been approved by the FDA to treat cancer or any other disease. Since the FDA considers cesium chloride to be a new dietary ingredient that has not previously been present in the food supply in a non-chemically altered form, it requires firms to provide certain safety-related information before including this ingredient in a dietary supplement. Companies marketing these products have not met this requirement, so their products cannot be legally marketed.

Anti-vaccine, anthroposophic physician accused of gross negligence. The Medical Board of California has accused Mary Kelly Sutton, MD of giving at least eight patients an unwarranted waiver for vaccines, sometimes without an in-person clinic visit. The accusation states that she "engaged in unprofessional conduct and was grossly negligent, and/or repeatedly negligent, and/or incompetent" in her care of the eight patients. [Jones V. CA medical board describes Fair Oaks doctor's vaccine waivers as 'gross negligence'. CBS Sacramento, Sept 21, 2020] At, Dr. Sutton markets alleged COVID-19 prevention products even though the FDA has approved no such products. Her profile indicates that she offers "anthroposophic" remedies and promotes herself as a "holistic" practitioner.

Sellers of "homeopathic" mole and skin-tag removal products warned. The FDA has sent wanring letters to two companies that have been marketing "homeopathic" mole and skin-tag removal products to consumers:

Both letters characterize the products as unapproved new drugs that are prohibited in interstate commerce.

Anti-mask psychiatrist scrutinized. Andrew Kaufman, a psychiatrist in Syracuse, New York, has become an influential COVID-19 denialist on YouTube with videos that have received hundreds of thousands of views. An investigative report about his activities reveals:

[Jarry J. The psychiatrist who calmly denies reality. McGill Office for Science and Society, Sept 24, 2020]

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This page was posted on October 19, 2020.