TINA reports on GNC regulatory actions and consumer lawsuits
Truth in Advertising, Inc., has published a history of government actions against General Nutrition and its associated companies. The government actions have included three by the U.S. Justice Department actions, three major FTC actions, at least four FTC actions against companies whose products were sold at GNC, more than a dozen false representation actions by the U.S. Postal Service, at least six actions by State agencies, and at least ten actions initiated by the FDA. There also have been more than 100 consumer lawsuits. [GNC: No stranger to regulatory enforcement. TINA.org, May 22, 2017] The takeaway message is that government regulation is limited and consumers need to be very skeptical of claims made about dietary supplements
General Nutrition is one of the largest marketers of vitamins and supplements in the US.
As many of you know, the Hospital Commissioner role is in flux, with some of the commissioners who believe that the role is rather passive, with limited scope, and some with a more activist point of view, wanting to go beyond the basic job descriptions to a more community oriented point of view. With two current commissioners that are considered “activist” and two current ones that would be considered more ‘conservative’ in their approach to the role, along with one that is considered somewhere in the middle of that description, the latest candidate filings will provide a distinct contrast along these lines. Mr. McComus comes from running the Port Townsend Mill, while Mr. McComus and Ms Van Hoover are both feet on the ground providers in their lives. Which role do you think we need as hospital commissioner in this age of Trump, where the very notion of health care as we have known it is under threat. If anything close to the current proposals pass, our hospital will be facing consequences that are not pleasant, and so will all of us who rely on it.
Do you favor an activist board, one willing to go beyond it’s basic job description or one that simply ‘fills in the boxes’? This election will give you an opportunity to answer that.
Today’s PDN story.
Bruce J. McComas, Bernie Donanberg and Cheri Van Hoover all filed as candidates Monday for the hospital commission position 1.
Well worth a read. This article touches on something that most medical professionals know, but most patients don’t. My father was dying in a hospital of advanced COPD, and the doctors there seemed unwilling to tell him he was near the end. It took me stepping in and saying, “You mean that he will either die soon of heart or kidney failure?” The answer from the doc, in front of my dad, was, “Probably.” I turned to my dad and said,” So dad, where do you want to die, here or at home?” He made the choice to go home and he died there a couple of days later surrounded by loved ones and in peace.
This article is a very good teaching lesson about the dirty little secret of medicine in America. And we are trapped in a system that makes a lot of money on end of life procedures and often is the last place you’ll get good information to make a decision about whether you really want it or not.
Despite growing recognition that more care isn’t necessarily better care, particularly at the end of life, many Americans still receive an enormous dose of medicine in their final days. On average, patients make 29 visits to the doctor’s office in their last six months.
Since Mr. Young was on “Coast to Coast” he likely has some audience here in Jefferson County. I know people tell me they listen to this show frequently.
Robert O. Young expected to do more jail time
Robert O. Young, author of The pH Miracle, has pleaded guilty to two more counts of practicing medicine without a license. In 2014, he was charged with multiple counts of grand theft and conspiring to practice medicine without a license. The San Diego District Attorney’s press release stated that Young accepted patients, including some who were terminally ill, and temporarily housed them at his pH Miracle Center. The charges alleged that Young and associates broke the law when they went beyond advocating dietary changes and administered intravenous treatments to patients, some of whom were terminally ill. In 2016, following a 2-month trial, he was convicted of two counts of practicing medicine without a license. During the trial, Deputy District Attorney Gina Darvas portrayed Young as a charlatan who preyed on the sick and vulnerable—including dying cancer patients—and duped them with bogus science. A few weeks after the trial ended, Darvas announced that Young would be re-tried on the charges for which the jury was unable to reach a verdict. In 2017, faced with this possibility, Young pleaded guilty to two more counts of practicing medicine without a license. The plea agreement calls for a 44-month sentence, some of which has already been served. [Diehl P. Sentencing delayed for pH Miracle author. San Diego Union-Tribune, May 1, 2017] Young, who for many years has represented himself as “Dr. Young,” has a “Ph.D.” from Clayton College of Natural Health, a non-accredited correspondence school that closed in 2010 after Alabama began requiring that all private, degree granting, schools be accredited by a recognized agency or be a candidate for accreditation. [Barrett S. Clayton College of Natural Health: Be wary of the school and its graduates. Quackwatch, Jan 8, 2015] The central premise of Young’s approach—which lacks scientific support—is that health depends primarily on proper balance between an alkaline and acid cellular environment that can be optimized by dietary modification and taking supplements. [Barrett S. A critical look at “Dr.” Robert Young’s theories and credentials. Quackwatch, May 5, 2017]
In a strange turn of events, it appears that hospital commissioner Tony Deleo is not going quietly into his retirement. After announcing he isn’t going to run again, and a great candidate in Cheri Van Hoover, a midwife and health care educator stepped forward, we assumed that Tony would endorse her. Instead he writes a letter to the editor calling for others to run against her, and word on the street is that someone is planning on filing against her. If Tony was hoping to go out with a pat on the back for his service, I’m afraid this is not going to help. Why he is uncomfortable with Cheri’s candidacy should be explained to those of us who respect his service, but wonder what is his problem.
Tony has overseen a number of decades where we have built huge wings to the hospital while running a deficit in primary care physicians. Jefferson County residents are being told the waiting list is up to 9 months to see a primary care physician. (I have talked to two just in the last month). Who does Tony think is going to do a better job than Cheri in helping to drive a solution for this problem? This is a real question and not just a criticism.
A warning for all you parents in Jefferson County that have not immunized your children!
Romania is experiencing a massive outbreak of measles that began last year. As of March 21, at least 3,800 cases of measles, including 17 deaths, have been confirmed and rates in surrounding countries have risen. Measles vaccination is about 97% effective in preventing the disease. “Herd immunity” (prevention of widespread transmission) occurs when when coverage is 90%-95%, but the higher the better. Romanians became susceptible to epidemic spread because the rate of 2-dose immunization dropped from 96% in 2007 to 86% in 2015. The factors influencing the drop are poverty, neglect, and the spread of anti-vaccine sentiments. Romania is one of six nations in the European Union or European Economic Area judged by the World Health Organization to still have endemic transmission of the vaccine-preventable disease. The others are Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Poland. The Respectful Insolence Blog has a detailed analysis of what happened in Romania.