December 10, 1999
Tip-Offs to Rip-Offs
Product No. 3: Unapproved
weight-loss product marketed as an alternative to a prescription drug combination
|FDA issued an import alert for a Canadian-made
weight-loss product whose claims compared the product with two prescription weight-loss
drugs taken off the market after FDA determined they posed a health hazard.
Promises of Easy Weight Loss
rapid weight loss without dieting!"
For most people, there is only one way to lose
weight: Eat less food (or fewer high-calorie foods) and increase activity.
Note the ambiguity of the term "rapid."
A reasonable and healthy weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds a week.
companies make it nearly impossible for doctors to resist prescribing their expensive
pills for what ails you ... ."
"It seems these billion dollar drug giants all have one relentless competitor in
common they all constantly fear--natural remedies."
These claims suggest that health-care providers
and legitimate manufacturers are in cahoots with each other, promoting only the drug
companies' and medical device manufacturers' products for financial gain. The claims also
suggest that the medical profession and legitimate drug and device makers strive to
suppress unorthodox products because they threaten their financial standing.
"This [accusation] is an easy way to get
consumers' attention," says Marjorie Powell, assistant general counsel for the
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. "But I would ask the marketers
of such claims, 'Where's the evidence?' It would seem to me that in this country, outside
of a regulatory agency it would be difficult to stop someone from making a claim."
Think about this, too: Would the vast number of
people in the health-care field block treatments that could help millions of sick,
suffering patients, many of whom could be family and friends? "It flies in the face
of logic," Barrett says on his Quackwatch Website.
Meaningless Medical Jargon
Hunger Stimulation Point (HSP) ..."
"... thermogenesis, which converts stored fats into soluble lipids ..."
"One of the many natural ingredients is inolitol hexanicontinate."
Terms and scientific explanations such as these
may sound impressive and may have an element of truth to them, but the public "has no
way of discerning fact from fiction," Aronson says. Fanciful terms, he says,
generally cover up a lack of scientific proof.
Sometimes, the terms or explanations are lifted
from a study published in a reputable scientific journal, even though the study was on
another subject altogether, says Martin Katz, a compliance officer and health fraud
coordinator for FDA's Florida district office. And chances are, few people will check the
original published study.
"Most people who are taken in by health fraud
will grasp at anything," he says. "They're not going to do the research. They're
looking for a miracle."
Back To Tip Off's Index
Safety Alerts compiles comprehensive safety
recall information for the United States. SafeMail is a free email service to warn
consumers of faulty products and contaminated foods. For complete information regarding
current recalls, past recalls and timely product warning notification visit: www.safetyalerts.com.
Top of Page
(To return - Click Back On Your Browser)