Evidence-based medicine – a criticism

Posted 30 June 2013

CamCheck is devoted mainly to the shortcomings of CAMs. Some readers incorrectly jump to the conclusion that we therefore support Big Pharma or ‘orthodox’ medicine. Not true: we argue for the requirement for good evidence in support of any therapeutic modality. We simply focus on CAMS, other websites focus on other modalities.

We have also known for a long time how Big Pharma (where there is far more evidence in support of claims), may in fact be using edited, fabricated or poorly assessed research/studies. In the article below, published in the South African Medical Journal, Prof Dave Muckart describes beautifully how scientific evidence can be abused.  

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Weightloss24.co.za, new scam from Johan Brittz / Sandi Sackstein!

Posted 17 June 2013

As previously posted on CamCheck, Johan Brittz, the person behind the scam products Be-trim and Organo-Slim, is living the high-life in Llandudno, and continues to roll-out scam after scam. He simply ignores ASA rulings. He has selling  Be-Trim under the guise of weightloss24.co.za.

SandiSacksteinUpdate 21 October 2013: It has come to our attention, that the actual person behind the product is Sandi Sackstein.


In fact, it does appear that Caxton Publishers, owners of Vrouekeur, are also ignoring previous ASA ruling by continuing to accept adverts from individuals such as Johan Brittz and Miracle Magnesium in spite of previous ASA rulings (both adverts in the 14 June Vrouekeur. As consumers, you can ask for Vrouekeur to reimburse you what you spent on these scam products (the Consumer Protection Act allows you to).   
2013-06-18 Weightloss24 

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Raspberry ketones and weight loss – bull!

12 June 2013

At the moment, the world appears to be crazy about the raspberry ketones diet following an endorsement by Dr Oz.

Is there evidence to support the claims in favour of raspberry ketones and weight-loss? Would you believe, not a single study has evaluated whether this ingredient has any benefit in weight loss! Correct, not one!

Sites that promote this product will give some scientific plausibility in support of the claims – but this is purely pseudoscience twaddle, i.e., sounds scientifically valid but the simple truth is this: not a single study has been performed to assess whether this product has any benefit for weight-loss.

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Simillimum and Dr Francesca Swainston: still scamming consumers

Posted 10 June 2013

Dr Francesca Swainston, a homeopath, marketing the slimming product called Simillimum, continues to scam consumers. In spite of ASA rulings, adverts making unsubstantiated claims keep on popping up in a variety of media publications. Here is the results of another complaint laid with the ASA against Simillimum. Will the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa (AHPCSA) who regulate homeopaths take action against her? Will someone lay a complaint with them against her?

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Magnesium Inflama Spray – ASA breach ruling

Posted 10 June 2013

Platinum Lifestyle Products selling Magnesium Inflama Spray continues to scam consumers by making false claims for their products. In this instance, a further complaint was laid with the ASA. The ASA concluded that:

Given the Platinum Lifestyle Products’s / Magnesium Inflama Spray’s apparent disregard for the previous rulings and the requirements for proper substantiation as per the Code, the Directorate imposes a sanction on the Platinum Lifestyle Products / Magnesium Inflama Spray.

Platinum Lifestyle Products / Magnesium Inflama Spray is ordered to submit any and all advertising for any of its products to the ACA Advisory Service for pre-publication advice. Only advertising that has been pre-approved by the ACA may be accepted by media owners.

An Ad Alert to this effect will be issued to all ASA members, requesting them not to accept any advertising for any of  Platinum Lifestyle Products / Magnesium Inflama Spray’s products Read the rest

USN Phedra-Cut Hardcore – ASA Ruling

Posted 10 June 2013

This is a convoluted ruling and essentially consist of two aspects:

1. A new complaint ruling by the ASA against USN Phedra-Cut Hardcore, and

2. An appeal by USN against sanctions being instituted against USN.

Difficulty to exactly fathom out the result of the appeal – appears that the Appeal committee accepted that USN should have been consulted prior to sanctions being instituted, but nonetheless will impose sanctions but first requesting from USN what sanctions they feel are appropriate!

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Bodytrim – ASA ruling

Posted 10 June 2013

In a ruling dated 28 August 2013, the ASA accepted a voluntary undertaking from Bodytrim to never use the Bodytrim advertising that gave rise to the dispute. As Bodytrim did not pay sufficient attention to the ASA ruling, the complainant and Bodytrim were afforded an opportunity to address the ASA on the issue of sanctions.

The ASA ruled that:

  • Bodytrim is instructed to submit all future advertising to the ACA Advisory Services, at its own cost, prior to the publication thereof.
  • Given the history of repeatedly making unsubstantiated efficacy claims as detailed above, the ASA Directorate imposes this sanction for a period of 12 months from the date of this ruling.
  • An Ad Alert will be issued to all ASA members asking them to refrain from accepting any of the respondent’s advertising unless it is accompanied by express verification from the ACA Advisory Services that it
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UK activists attack misleading “CAM” regulatory agency

Posted 10 June 2013

The Nightingale Collaboration, a group of British activists, has submitted 100 complaints against practitioners and clinics registered with the UK’s Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The CNHC was set up in 2008 with government support to regulate Alexander therapy, aromatherapy, Bowen therapy, craniosacral therapy, healing, hypnotherapy, massage therapy, microsystems acupuncture, naturopathy, nutritional therapy, reflexology, reiki; shiatsu, sports therapy, and yoga therapy. To display the CNHC “quality mark,” registrants must meet a long list of standards that include, “Advertisements must not be misleading, false, unfair or exaggerated.” The Collaboration’s home page summarizes the situation this way:

  • The breadth of these questionable claims is truly staggering, with just about no CNHC ‘discipline’ left untouched. The Alexander Technique is a notable exception in this batch of complaints—at least there is some good evidence for it for some conditions and we found no evidence of the outrageous claims
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New project reports on alleged “CAM” cancer treatments

Posted 10 June 2013

The National Information Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine at the University of Tromsø, Norway, is now operating a project that reviews alleged “complementary and alternative” cancer treatments. The project—called “Concerted Action for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Assessment in the Cancer Field” (CAM-Cancer)—is funded mainly by the university’s National Research Center in Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NAFKAM) and Reliable Cancer Therapies (RCT), a non-profit organization that provides research-based information on cancer treatments. The CAM-Cancer Web site has about 60 reports that can be downloaded and freely reproduced. 

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Can dates really cure cancer?

Posted 05 June 2013

Can dates cure abdominal cancer more effectively than medicine and without side effects?

In a recent article published by South Africa’s Sowetan newspaper, written by Bongiwe Sithole, the claim was made that dates can cure abdominal cancer. The article listed ten “simple benefits” of eating dates, including increased sexual stamina, the treatment of anaemia, improved eyesight and lower cholesterol.

In an article published in Africa Check (“Sorting fact from fiction“), Melissa Meyer points out beautifully the problem of “South Africa’s on-going struggle with ‘miracle’ HIV cures [which] makes for an appropriate case-in-point on the dangers of promoting unfounded health claims“, and about “studies – which have been prone to abuse and unscrupulous extrapolation“.

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