Category: Politics and Regulation

The consumer lab rat: More questions about supplement safety

Do you take a vitamin or dietary supplement? Over half of all American adults do, making this a $30 billion dollar business. Many of us even take supplements in the absence of any clear medical or health need. I’m often told it’s a form of nutritional “insurance” or it’s being taken for some presumed beneficial effect – like Steven Novella outlined in...

/ January 28, 2016

Science-based medicine versus the Flint water crisis

One aspect of science-based medicine that is not covered frequently on this blog, aside from vaccines and antivaccine pseudoscience, but perhaps should be, is the intersection of SBM and public health. Unfortunately, living as I do in southeast Michigan right now, I’ve been on the receiving end of an inescapable lesson in what happens when the government fails in its mission to...

/ January 25, 2016

Docs v. Glocks: government regulation of physician speech

A few years ago, an Ocala, Florida, pediatrician, as part of a routine visit, asked a patient’s mother whether she kept firearms in the home. She refused to answer, feeling the question constituted an invasion of her right to privacy. The pediatrician then terminated the relationship and told the mother she had 30 days to find a new doctor for her child....

/ January 21, 2016

The cost of repealing mandatory motorcycle helmet laws

It’s a seldom mentioned aspect of my professional history that I used to do a lot of trauma surgery in my youth. I did my residency at a program that included a county hospital with a busy trauma program where I saw quite a bit of vehicular carnage and an urban hospital (which has since closed) where I saw a fair amount...

/ January 18, 2016

Legislative Alchemy 2015: Another losing season for CAM practitioners

One of the main, but perhaps underappreciated, reasons quackery thrives in the United States is that the states legalize it by licensing practitioners of pseudoscience as health care providers. These practitioners are placed under the regulatory jurisdiction of, well, themselves. I call the whole deplorable process Legislative Alchemy, and you can see all posts on the topic here. It gives practitioners an...

/ January 7, 2016
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What’s in your Traditional Chinese Medicine?

What's in your Traditional Chinese Medicine? An Australian analysis of 26 products found 92% were contaminated with heavy metals, undeclared plants, pharmaceuticals, or even animals like the endangered snow leopard, cat, dog, rat and pit viper.

/ December 17, 2015
Michigan Legislature

Michigan HB 5126: Who thought it was a good idea to make it easier for parents to obtain nonmedical exemptions to school vaccine mandates and harder for local county health officials to do their jobs?

The Michigan Department of Community Health recently passed a regulation that requires parents seeking personal belief exemptions to school vaccine requirements to receive counseling at a local state or county health office, and the regulation has worked. Personal belief exemptions are down. No wonder the Michigan legislature is trying to reverse the rule and ban the MDCH from enforcing similar rules in...

/ December 14, 2015

Home birth tragedies lead to changes in Oregon

Oregon Health Plan (OHP), the state’s Medicaid insurer, will no longer cover planned home and birth center births for women whose pregnancies aren’t classified as low risk, based on newly-established criteria. The Health Evidence Review Commission (HERC), a group of experts designated by the state, came up with criteria that will exclude women with a substantial list of conditions, such as high...

/ December 10, 2015

Holding the supplement industry to account: Can we learn from tobacco regulation?

A new paper compares the supplement industry to Big Tobacco and argues that states should use the same tactics to improve consumer safety and protection.

/ December 3, 2015

Brian Clement claims Hippocrates treatments “reverse” multiple sclerosis

American charlatan Brian Clement made another trip to Canada recently and was caught on audiotape claiming multiple sclerosis could be “reversed” at the Hippocrates Health Institute (HHI), where he serves as Director. This is yet another in a series of his misrepresentations about the effectiveness of the quack treatments offered at HHI. Indeed, Clement calls to mind the old joke about inveterate...

/ November 26, 2015