Swine Flu: Cutting Through the Hype
Email is a great thing. In one movement I can stay connected to friends and family all over the world, and that’s pretty neat. The problem with email is the ease with which people can be solicited by nonsense. I can just not answer my phone if I don’t recognize the number, but when I log into my email they’re waiting for me there, too. In this case it wasn’t I who received the email in question, but the ever lovely Surly Amy, who promptly forwarded the junk mail on to the rest of the Skepchick hive.
Let’s start with the introduction:
The only “hype” about the flu is coming from the woo-side. “Many ads promoting vaccination have been produced by the pharmaceutical companies involved in the production and distribution of the vaccine.” Homeopaths and other pseudoscience proponents live for the type of situation in which they can amp up the Big Pharma argument, and this is a sitting duck for such accusations because of the swift action that had to be taken since the first outbreaks earlier this year. As usual, the CDC does an excellent job of explaining common questions regarding the vaccine. “Other articles play upon your fears and are not based in facts.” Well it’s a good thing this was sent out, then! Thank you, Dr. C. Evers Whyte, for keeping all of us in the know concerning rational, science-based medicine.
Here’s a rundown of the links included in the next portion of the e-mail:
- An opinion piece written for American Association for Health Freedom, whose mission statement is, “Protecting the right of the Consumer to choose and the Practitioner to practice.” The AAHF is currently merging with the Alliance for Natural Health.
- Reasons to not get your child vaccinated for H1N1. These people really think they’re doing a public service by spreading this nonsense. DISCLAIMER: reading that article is going to piss you off.
- This leads to a required registration before you can move on to the article. I didn’t do it.
- RED FLAG ALERT: How to avoid Swine Flu by boosting your immune system.
- C. Evers Whyte (I refuse to call him Dr at this point) answers FAQs about Swine Flu. (hint: not helpful.)
I don’t even know where to start with Triple Flu Defense. I have the website’s embedded video playing right now, and it’s full of unexplained graphs and a stumbling, rambling narrator. Seriously, this is painful to listen to. “Let’s talk about how you can defend yourself and your family from influenza using homeopathic medicines,” stated in true salesman tone, leads right into how homeopathy is the most effective way to prevent viral illnesses. According to the video, Triple Flu Defense is the only reliable source of nutrients needed to fend off seasonal flu as well as H1N1… and apparently they change the formula annually in anticipation of which nutrients will be needed for each year’s strain of influenza. How are they getting away with this?!
Oh, and by the way – 1 oz of this stuff is $30. Taken in 60 drop-per day doses, I doubt you’ll need only 1 bottle in the duration of the flu season.
Here’s where it gets beautiful:
They directly state that Triple Flu Defense is regulated by the FDA because it’s manufactured in an FDA registered laboratory. A quick Google search showed no evidence of the FDA regulating this stuff. This is where we can help stop the madness. Promoting a “natural” or homeopathic product as a safe, effective treatment that works better than the mainstream, common treatment AND having the balls to say that it’s regulated because the lab is registered (I would like to see documentation on that matter) is ample reason for us to report them.
Amy sent me a list of links that are helpful in this matter:
Contacting one or all of these institutions with a complaint about such a company can get the ball moving towards getting them shut down or at the very least fined. Homeopaths and Naturopaths generally come in two flavors: those who know what they’re doing is bullshit but want to make a buck off the gullibility of the general public, and those who actually believe that what they’re doing is right and that science just doesn’t understand. Either way, what they’re doing is harmful to all of us and they need to be corrected.
A tip from The White Coat Underground: Before jumping to conclusions, make sure they don’t say, “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease,” anywhere on their site, bottle, box, ad, whatever. This statement is a loophole that protects them from punishment – kind of like psychics and the “for entertainment purposes” crap.
The folks who fail to attach a disclaimer to their products are fair game and we need to do something about it. If you find an example like this and feel that they should be reported, don’t hesitate to do so! Also, if you find one that you’re just not quite sure about, don’t hesitate to send a link to us and one of us can let you know if they’re reportable. You’re not a tattletale, nor are you being nitpicky about the fact that they left out the Quack Miranda Warning – if they can’t remember to cover their own asses, they deserve every complaint they get. What they’re doing is harming people all over the world, especially children… reporting them is more of a public service than they’ll ever hope to produce.[A huge "Thank You" to Skepchick Surly Amy for making this available to write about, and for the linkage!]