Consumer Health Digest #14-31
Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
August 24, 2014
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.
Several Senators support personal drug importation. Millions of Americans are safely buying from online pharmacies in Canada and elsewhere where prices are much lower for the same drugs sold within the United States. Drug companies are pressing the government to take actions that would keep Americans paying inflated prices while they sell the same drugs for much less outside the U.S. In May, the FDA proposed a rule that would enable it to seize and destroy shipments to consumers of drugs valued at $2,500 or less. [FDA wants to seize and destroy imported Rx drugs. RxRights.org, May 26, 2014] RxRights.org, which is spearheading opposition to the rule, has reported that several Senators are working against it:
- Senator David Vitter (R-LA) has offered an amendment to the fiscal year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations bill to de-fund the FDA's regulation. Vitter also wrote a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg that was cosigned by Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dean Heller (R-NV) and Angus King Jr. (I-ME).
- Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John McCain (R-AZ) have co-sponsored the Safe and Affordable Drugs from Canada Act of 2014 (S. 2549), which would require the Secretary of Health & Human Services to create rules to allow importation and create a list of approved Canadian pharmacies that would be available through the FDA Web site.
Legitimate Canadian pharmacies can be located through PharmacyChecker.com.
New Zealand issues favorable fluoridation report. A review of the scientific evidence for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation of public water supplies has found that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay. The 77-page report, Health Effects of Water Fluoridation: a Review of the Scientific Evidence, was jointly issued by the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor and the Royal Society of New Zealand. The authors concluded:
- Community water fluoridation provides a cost-effective and equitable way of improving public health.
- The only side effect of fluoridation at levels used in New Zealand is minimal fluorosis, which is not of major cosmetic significance. No cases have been reported of disfiguring fluorosis associated with levels used for fluoridating water supplies in New Zealand.
- Concerns raised by those opposed to fluoridation are not supported by the scientific evidence.
Contact reflex analysis proponent fatally injured. Chiropractor Dick A. Versendaal, the primary promoter of contact reflex analysis (CRA), was killed in an auto accident last February. [In remembrance: A moment of silence for Dr. Dick Versendaal. Dynamic Chiropractic, May 1, 2014] CRA—an offshoot of applied kinesiology—is one of chiropractic's most bizarre systems of diagnosis and treatment. Its proponents claim that the "root cause" of over a thousand health problems can be determined with a muscle test during which the chiropractor's finger or hand is placed on one of 75 "reflex points" on the patient's body. If the patient's arm can be pulled downward, a condition corresponding to the "reflex" is considered present, and dietary supplements (typically made from freeze-dried vegetables or animal organs) are prescribed. Among other things, Versendaal taught that 80% of disease is due to allergy; the two main causes of disease are gallbladder disease and staphylococcus infections; and obesity is commonly caused by parasites. Some chiropractic licensing boards have decided that CRA is within the legitimate scope of chiropractic, and some accept CRA courses for continuing education credit. However, a few chiropractors have been disciplined in cases in which their use of CRA was a factor. [Barrett S. Contact reflex analysis is nonsense. Quackwatch, Aug 23, 2014]
This page was posted on August 24, 2014.