Consumer Health Digest #11-27
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 25, 2011
Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D., M.P.H. 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.
Google penalized for accepting foreign pharmacy ads. Google has agreed to stop accepting ads from Canadian pharmacies and to disgorge $500 million that it accrued from such ads. The government action appears to have been instigated by the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy. The agreement indicates that Google acceded to the Justice Department's demands in order to avoid criminal prosecution. The government's action will help some consumers and hurt others. Many drugs made by U.S. companies cost much more in the U.S. than they do in other parts of the world. Legitimate foreign pharmacies sell many of these at prices lower than they would be at U.S. pharmacies. Stopping rogue pharmacies is important, but our government should permit and encourage Americans to shop at reputable ones—and search engines should help facilitate the process. [Barrett S. Why Americans should be permitted to buy their drugs from reputable foreign pharmacies. Pharmwatch, Aug 25, 2011] PharmacyChecker.com maintains a database of trustworthy foreign pharmacies and the prices they charge.
Unscientific "Lyme advocates" blasted. A team of experts has sharply criticized the advocates of unscientific Lyme-related concepts. [Auwaerter PG and others. Antiscience and ethical concerns associated with advocacy of Lyme disease. The Lancet Infectious Diseases 11:713-719, 2011] Their report states:
- Advocacy for Lyme disease has become an increasingly important part of an antiscience movement that denies both the viral cause of AIDS and the benefits of vaccines and that supports unproven (sometimes dangerous) alternative medical treatments.
- Some activists portray Lyme disease, a geographically limited tick-borne infection, as a disease that is insidious, ubiquitous, difficult to diagnose, and almost incurable; they also propose that the disease causes mainly non-specific symptoms that can be treated only with long-term antibiotics and other unorthodox and unvalidated treatments.
- Similar to other antiscience groups, these advocates have created a pseudoscientific and alternative selection of practitioners, research, and publications and have coordinated public protests, accused opponents of both corruption and conspiracy, and spurred legislative efforts to subvert evidence-based medicine and peer-reviewed science.
- At least a dozen "Lyme Literate Medical Doctors" and other "activists" have been subjected to disciplinary action, regulatory action, and/or criminal prosecution.
- The relations and actions of some activists, medical practitioners, and commercial bodies involved in Lyme disease advocacy pose a threat to public health.
Homeopathic class-action suit certified. A federal judge has certified a class, which enables the class-action suit filed by the Newport Trial Group against Boiron USA to proceed. The suit claims that Boiron made misleading claims that Children's ColdCalm, a homeopathic product it manufactures, would relieve sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, sinus pain, headaches, and sore throat. In July, the judge denied a motion to dismiss the case on jurisdictional grounds.
Legal case archive improves. The FindACase™ Web site, which has archived over more than million state and federal court rulings, has greatly improved its interface. The simple search covers the entire database at once. The advanced search can focus on a single state, a range of dates, and the type of court.
This page was posted on August 26, 2011.