All posts by Scott Gavura

Less benefit, more risk. Our assumptions about health treatments are probably wrong.

I’m a health professional, but sometimes a patient as well. And like most patients, I generally don’t want health decisions being made without my input. Yes, I want the best medical information, and the advice of medical professionals, but ultimately I want to make my own decisions about my care. That’s the norm in health care today, but relatively new in the...

/ April 23, 2015

Supplements are the Wild West of health. One Attorney General is out to change that.

Bold moves from the New York State attorney general’s (AG) office are shaking up the supplement industry. In February, the AG accused four retailers (GNC, Target, Walmart, and Walgreens) of selling supplements that failed to contain their labelled ingredients. Using a testing method called “DNA barcoding“, the AG’s office concluded that few of the products it tested actually contained the labelled ingredient,...

/ April 9, 2015

Should the FDA crack down on homeopathic “remedies”?

In the category of potentially dangerous complementary or alternative medicine, I can think of few products worse than ones claimed to relieve asthma, yet don’t actually contain any medicine. Yet these products exist and are widely sold. Just over a year ago I described what might be the most irresponsible homeopathic treatment ever: A homeopathic asthma spray. If there was ever a...

/ March 26, 2015

Evaluating milk and its substitutes

I knew milk alternatives were becoming mainstream when a new bakery/café appeared in my neighborhood. I ordered a latte and learned that they didn’t use milk. At all. Not only were the baked goods vegan, organic, “natural” and some were gluten-free, they were completely dairy-free for their coffee beverages. While everything looked and smelled great, I was shocked that they had no...

/ March 12, 2015

Pseudoscience North: What’s happening to the University of Toronto?

  Today’s post is a reluctant challenge. I’m nominating my own alma mater, the University of Toronto, as the new pseudoscience leader among large universities – not just in Canada, but all of North America. If you can identify a large university promoting or embracing more scientifically questionable activities, I’ll happily buy you a coffee. Yes, it’s personal to me, as I...

/ February 26, 2015

Searching for the supplement in your supplement

While the supplement market continues to grow, it's becoming harder to identify products that are truly safe and effective. We need better regulation and product quality to ensure there's a market where consumers can purchase supplements with confidence and use them safely.

/ February 12, 2015

Selling complementary and alternative medicine: An business ethics perspective

Is it ethical to sell complementary and alternative medicine? This presentation — by a philosopher and a pharmacist — considers CAM from the perspective of commercial ethics.

/ January 31, 2015

Lies, fraud, conflicts of interest, and bogus science: The real Dr. Oz effect

  I thought I’d written my final post on the Dr. Oz-fueled green coffee bean extract (GCBE) diet supplement fad. But now there’s another appalling chapter, one that documents just how much contempt The Dr. Oz Show seems to show for its audience, and how little Dr. Oz seems to care about providing advice based on good science. This week it was...

/ January 29, 2015

Upcoming Toronto talk: Complementary and Alternative Medicine: A Business Ethics Perspective

I’ll be joining Professor Chris MacDonald on January 28 for a discussion about the ethics of selling complementary and alternative medicine: Is it ethical to market complementary and alternative medicines? Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are medical products and services outside the mainstream of medical practice. But they are not just medicines (or supposed medicines) offered and provided for the prevention and...

/ January 24, 2015

Are skin-lightening glutathione injections safe and effective?

Naturopaths advertise injections claimed to lighten skin. Are these products safe and effective?

/ January 22, 2015