Confessions of a Quackbuster

This blog deals with healthcare consumer protection, and is therefore about quackery, healthfraud, chiropractic, and other forms of so-Called "Alternative" Medicine (sCAM).

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Challenging quacks and frauds: Terry Polevoy, MD

Censorship! Censorship! Censorship!



This is a tale of censorship and deviousness on the part of The Medical Post and Rogers Communications. Incredibly, Rogers Communications has apparently caved in to pressure and censored this excellent article. It isn't available anymore, even in their archives.

To find such incredible stupidity in this cyber age is amazing. Instead of the motive being one of stupidity, nefarious motives are a more likely explanation. You see, Rogers Communications is a well-known purveyor and promoter of quackery and nonsense. They must have found themselves in a conflict of interest when this excellent article was published, and they chose the side of quackery, rather than the side of scientific legitimacy.

I would suggest that The Medical Post find another publisher!

(If the article becomes available again, please notify me, so I can revise these comments.)


Here is the censored article:

The Medical Post
November 02, 2004 Volume 40 Issue 41

DOCTOR IN PROFILE

Challenging quacks and frauds

Dr. Terry Polevoy is a self-appointed health watchdog. He investigates and challenges products, services and theories that are marketed with claims he believes to be false, unsubstantiated or even illegal

By Barbara Kermode-Scott

Doctors across Canada and around the world become angry when they hear of dishonest people or businesses that prey on the sick.

Unfortunately there are those out there who will unscrupulously raise the hopes and ruthlessly take the money of patients who cannot find a cure from conventional medicine.

Ontario physician Dr. Terry Polevoy is certainly angered when he comes across evidence of fraudulent claims, con tricks or other health scams. Unlike most of us, Dr. Polevoy taps into that anger and takes action to protect consumers against health quackery.

Although Dr. Polevoy runs an acne clinic in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., and practises part-time at a walk-in clinic in London, Ont., he still devotes many hours each week to his role as a health watchdog. He investigates and challenges products, services and theories that are marketed with claims that he believes to be false, unsubstantiated or even illegal.

"I think that medicine-generic medicine-any kind of medicine-healing arts medicine-has a responsibility to be honest, to publish and to study things that work and disprove them if they don't work," Dr. Polevoy said in an interview. The industries that really need to be watched are those industries where there are no written laws to protect the public, he added. "Whether it's a method that people are using as doctors, chiropractors or naturopaths or whether it's a mom-and-pop down the street selling a product that allegedly cures all sorts of ills, consumer help is lacking in Canada," he suggested.

"There are very few enforcement officers around to look at drugs or devices. We need a separate agency, like they have in England and Australia, to look at false claims and advertising. . . . Until we get that in Canada . . . literally nothing will be done to control the quackery, the bad pills, the herbals and all the other kinds of other stuff, despite the tens of millions of dollars being spent on these."

Needless to say Dr. Polevoy's war on health quackery tends not to win him popularity awards or medals. He and his colleagues have incurred the wrath of individuals, corporations and others.

He says he has been threatened with lawsuits and even sued by a company Polevoy claims provides shady weight-loss producers with rented mail drops. Further, Dr. Polevoy is frequently attacked on the Internet and other places by those whose medical treatments he has savaged.

But he gives as good as he gets, often using words such as quackery and fraud to attack those he believes are scamming the public. He is presently involved in a California libel suit against a group of people he believes posted defamatory remarks about him on the Internet.

He has often endured personal attacks that question his professionalism, family life and sexual conduct.

"Sometimes it's the chiropractors who don't like me. . . . Sometimes it's people in naturopathy. Sometimes it's a weirdo. . . . Right now we're a target for hate by the chiropractic fundamentalists."

Born and raised in the United States, Dr. Polevoy undertook his medical degree at the Wayne State University school of medicine in Detroit. While a medical student he became interested in social activism and was involved in protests against the Vietnam War. Afterward he moved to Canada and did a pediatric residency at the University of Western Ontario and at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

From 1977 to 1990 he practised in the United States, in Florida, in the U.S. Navy and in Ohio.

In 1990, he moved back to Canada to work in walk-in clinics in Ontario. In 1992, Dr. Polevoy opened an acne care clinic in Kitchener. Although he had a keen interest in holistic and alternative medicine early on in his practice in both the U.S. and in Canada, Dr. Polevoy later on became very disillusioned with the growth of "blatant quackery" in medicine, and the acceptance of "bogus practices" by mainstream medical organizations and government-funded institutions.

His skepticism grew following the death of his second wife from skin cancer. She had received both alternative and conventional therapies for a malignant melanoma.

In 1997, Dr. Polevoy started his first Web site about "alternative" medicine, www.healthwatcher.net. He now spends several hours daily online investigating quackery and monitoring media reports on alternative medicine. He then posts information about incidents of health fraud, diet fraud and alternative medicine on www.healthwatcher.net and his various other web sites (www.DietFraud.com, www.HerbalWatch.com, www.ChiroWatch.com).

"What I do is, I monitor the quack industry and I file complaints with the colleges . . . because people are being hoodwinked. . . . What bothers me most is the gullibility of the media to swallow stories that have no basis in fact," he said.

Dr. Polevoy has campaigned against consumer health fraud, cancer quackery, diet scams, herbal product dangers, chiropractic problems, alternative medicine and assorted fraudulent practices. To honor his second wife, he also tries to educate the public and politicians about the dangers of using sun beds, particularly for children and young adults.

He worries as well about holistic health clinics doing chelation and intravenous procedures. "No one stops them. I don't know why no one stops them. Isn't it an assault on a patient to inject them with an intravenous that's not approved for use? No one cares. Until someone drops dead in a naturopath's office in Alberta or British Columbia or Ontario from doing a quack chelation therapy nobody's going to hear about it.

"The other thing that annoys me is the people that are doing chelation therapy and using 'vega' testing machines. Vega testing machines are total quackery. . . . People who use fake PhDs really piss me off. There are people who buy their diplomas off-shore in Sri Lanka or India-they claim to have a PhD and use vega testing machines."

In April 2003, Dr. Polevoy co-authored an E-book called Pig Pills, Inc. with medical reporter Marvin Ross, and former Health Canada inspector and private detective Ron Reinhold. The book was the result of a two-and-a-half year investigation of Empowerplus, a nutraceutical sold to customers with serious mental health and other disorders. Following the book's publication, Health Canada issued a health advisory on the potential risks of Empowerplus and raided the offices of Truehope Nutritional Support Limited/Synergy, the company marketing Empowerplus in Canada. In July 2004, Truehope was charged on six counts under the Food and Drugs Act for allegedly importing and selling its product without government approval.

Dr. Polevoy will continue his war against companies like Truehope, as well as against any individuals, organizations and corporations he believes are hoodwinking consumers and patients. Sometimes, as with Truehope, he will be able to see the results of his efforts, other times not, but he'll carry on fighting for the underdog.

Barbara Kermode-Scott is a writer in Calgary.


**********************


Here's what a Medical Post search (on Dec. 25, 2004) for "Polevoy" brings up. The now missing article is there:


5 documents found for query: polevoy.
Displaying documents 1 - 5


1 MedicalPost.com: Challenging quacks and frauds http://www.medicalpost.com/mpcontent/article.jsp?content=20041031_183257_3140

2 MedicalPost.com: OPED: Letters to the editor http://www.medicalpost.com/mpcontent/article.jsp?content=20040516_130603_668

3 MedicalPost.com: LETTERS TO THE EDITOR http://www.medicalpost.com/mpcontent/article.jsp?content=/content/EXTRACT/RAWART/3621/14a.html

4 MedicalPost.com: Raid! http://www.medicalpost.com/mpcontent/article.jsp?content=20030903_111613_4044

5 MedicalPost.com: I SAY, I SAY: Who will bridge the gap between chiropractors and doctors? http://www.medicalpost.com/mpcontent/article.jsp?content=/content/EXTRACT/RAWART/3606/13B.html


It really WAS there!


It is even censored from the archives!


Here are the archives for Back Issues 2004


Here is the Table of Contents for the issue in question:


The Medical Post Online Back Issues
Volume 40 No.41 November 02, 2004

1. New rules for hormone therapy
2. Report eases most concerns about IVF
3. MD supply urgent
4. Doctor deal trouble for Ont. gov't
5. Therapy better than pills for insomniacs
6. Counterfeit drugs discovered in U.K.
7. Restructuring issues continue to boil for Ont. Medical Association
8. Device illuminates hard-to-find veins onto patient's skin
9. Sask. MDs honoured with Order of Merits
10. Cancer prevention proves successful
11. Diabetes and cancer linked?
12. Fraser Institute finds Manitoba has shortest wait times
13. Surgery backed up at end of N.B. strike
14. Modified MRI techniques show statin benefit
15. C. difficile ravaging Quebec
16. Girls urged to make first ob/gyn visit earlier
17. Semen testing for prostate cancer?
18. Parasomniac sought sex in her sleep
19. Transfusions up mortality of heart patients
20. No adverse effects with new COX-2 inhibitor, study shows
21. Epilepsy patients can make up missed medication
22. OPED: There's no reason not to vote on OMA deal
23. OPED: Political memoir might reopen debate of Canada Health Act
24. OPED: In the aftermath of war
25. OPED: Letters to the editor
26. OPED: The flu crisis
27. OPED: Crazy flu cures come out of the closet
28. ANA: In brief
29. ANA: GDNF does not help in Parkinson's
30. ANA: Degree of hyponatremia correlates with severity of spinal cord injury
31. ANA: MRI tops CT at predicting spinal cord injury outcome
32. ANA: MRIs reveal early brain changes in MS
33. ANA: Drug helps to relieve orthostatic hypotension
34. ASTRO: In brief
35. ASTRO: Brachytherapy may help prostate CA patients live longer
36. ASTRO: NSAIDs may improve prostate cancer survival
37. ASTRO: Obese breast CA patients more likely to die
38. ASTRO: Prostate CA patients can safely delay external-beam radiation therapy
39. ASTRO: Metabolite may treat radiation sickness
40. Food for thought on child obesity challenge
41. A quick obesity fix: keep kids away from pop
42. Doctors weigh in with nutrition care for kids
43. Metabolic syndrome troubles teens
44. Specialty clinic takes team approach to weight control
45. Keep diet message simple
46. Physicians can be role models for patients in in their community
47. Sea king
48. The camp experience
49. POWs age faster, die younger
50. Errand walks help beat obesity
51. The snows of Kilimanjaro
52. In the absence of scientific proof, common sense rules
53. Field of dreams
54. Wine writers treated to samples of rousing reds
55. Memories of Sick Kids circa 1969
56. Edmonton Protocol team gets funding boost
57. BCMA criticizes B.C. emergency room survey as misleading
58. The prescribing psychologist
59. Study links maternal thyroid disease to infant visual problems
60. Clinical trials could raise use of Chinese meds, conference told
61. U.S. guidelines set for malpractice testimony
62. Vets on front lines of disease research
63. Animal researchers develop drug for stroke damage
64. Data helps hospitals evaluate service
65. New prostate cancer drug shows promise
66. Research finds link between gum disease, heart attack
67. Aussies uncover genetic link between hormones, migraines
68. Most Irish pediatric residents may move to family practice
69. U.K. wants to recoup work injury funds
70. Risk of suicide in adulthood may be traced back to womb
71. U.K. experts call for public health ministry
72. World guidelines adopted for MD-pharma relations
73. WMA clarifies medical research declaration
74. Perils of the pen

It's gone! Censored!

Some information and links about these organizations

http://www.medicalpost.com/ (reputation is now tarnished by this event)

http://www.rogers.com/ (lacked credibility already because of its pro-quackery stance)

Rogers Publishing is Canada's largest magazine and periodicals publisher. The publications are leaders in their categories. Maclean's is Canada's largest-circulation newsmagazine. Canadian Business, Chatelaine, Flare, Today's Parent and MoneySense all lead in their markets - as do most of the vertical trade publications and information products such as Marketing Magazine, Medical Post, Advisor's Edge and Canadian Grocer. We also have a strong presence on the Web with Chatelaine.com, MoneySense.ca, Macleans.ca, Bizlink.com, Profitguide.ca and many other sites which are integrated with our print franchises. Rogers Publishing also includes a variety of trade shows and the Medical Education Network, a medical database company headquartered in New York. View the complete list of Rogers Publications.

Rogers Publishing is part of Rogers Media, which in turn is part of Rogers Communications Inc. Rogers Communications is Canada's national communications company engaged in cellular, Digital PCS, paging and data communications through Rogers AT&T Wireless; in cable television, high-speed Internet access and video retailing through Rogers Cable Inc., and in radio and television broadcasting, tele-shopping, publishing and new media businesses through Rogers Media Inc.

http://www.ccab-canada.com/rogers.html



More information about Rogers Communications


More on-site info about this matter:

Rogers Communications' Medical Post article by Barbara Kermode-Scott about Terry Polevoy was removed from the internet


I hope The Medical Post and Rogers Communications make a big fuss about this evidence of their deviousness being preserved here, because every major newspaper would love to get their hands on this story!



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