Junkfood Science: Special health fraud issue

November 21, 2006

Special health fraud issue

The latest issue of FDA Consumer magazine is now online and the feature story is “Cracking Down on Health Fraud.” It exposes some of the biggies that have been uncovered this year:

Diabetes health fraud

Over the past year, the Mexico, United States, Canada Health Fraud Working Group (MUCH) has focused enforcement and consumer education efforts on fraudulent products to treat diabetes. In October 2006, MUCH member agencies announced that they had taken nearly 200 compliance actions against companies promoting bogus products that provide false hope to people with diabetes….

Weight loss fraud

False and misleading claims in weight loss ads are widespread. Since 2003, the member organizations of the Mexico, United States, Canada Health Fraud Working Group (MUCH) have taken more than 700 compliance actions against companies pushing bogus and misleading weight loss schemes….[LOL! That describes every weight loss plan out there!]

Natural healing

In August 2006, a federal judge sentenced John E. Curran to 12.5 years in prison for fraud and money laundering....Curran sold bogus products called "E-water" and "Green Drink." In promotional materials, Curran claimed to have cured people of cancer. One 17-year-old girl with ovarian cancer reportedly drank only Green Drink, a powdered vegetable drink, in the last weeks of her life….

In other instances, Curran used scare diagnosis tactics so that he could prescribe the phony cures to healthy people. Curran sold about 1.4 million dollars' worth of treatment and products after making his false diagnoses. He told patients they had "live parasites" in their blood, reduced blood cell counts, and ruined immune systems.

Also: influenza scams, home genetic tests, sexual enhancement supplements and a red flags list to help consumers avoid becoming victims of health fraud and understand health-related claims.

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