Consumer Health Digest #13-05

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
January 31, 2013


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.


Another group blasts electromagnetic quackery. Toronto-based Bad Science Watch has issued a position paper debunking "electromagnetic hypersensitivity," the alleged intolerance to wireless networking (WiFi ) and other low-level electromagnetic fields (EMF). The paper states:


Journal attacks quackery.The C2C Journal has published a theme issue with eight articles aimed at quackery. The topics include (a) false promises of homeopathy, (b) why "natural medicine" is unsafe, (c) the artificial promises of organic food, (d) why celebrities and TV doctors are bad for your health, and (e) the danger of medical conspiracy theories. The last of these asserts that increased levels of increased levels of formal education do not seem to discourage the "culture of conspiracy" and that the Internet promotes this by allowing true believers from all over the world to exchange "stigmatized knowledge" more freely than ever. The entire issue is accessible free of charge.


FDA warns against fraudulent flu products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning against fraudulent products claimed to prevent or treat influenza. The The FDA Web site notes:

Last month the FDA and FTC jointly ordered Flu & Cold Defense LLC, which markets "GermBullet" (a nasal inhaler), to stop making illegal flu prevention and treatment claims.


Alleged pyramid scheme halted. At the request of the FTC and the states of Illinois, Kentucky, and North Carolina, a federal court has halted the operation of Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing (FHTM), a multilevel company that sold high-speed Internet, home telephone service, auto clubs, travel clubs, cell phone plans, home security systems, beauty care products, and various dietary supplements. [FTC action leads court to halt alleged pyramid scheme: FHTM promoted itself as a path to financial independence, but most people made little or no money.. FTC news release, Jan 28, 2013] According to the complaint filed by the FTC and the state attorneys general:

The defendants are Paul C. Orberson, Thomas A. Mills, Fortune Hi-Tech Marketing Inc., FHTM Inc., Alan Clark Holdings LLC, FHTM Canada Inc., and Fortune Network Marketing (UK) Limited. On January 24, the court halted the allegedly deceptive practices, froze the defendants' assets, and appointed a temporary receiver over the corporations pending a trial. The relevant documents are posted to the receiver's Web site.


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This page was posted on February 3, 2013.