24 January 2009

Woo-Meister hit with $37 Million Fine

Charlatan and conspiracy-monger Kevin Trudeau was ordered by a federal judge to pay a $37 million fine for his fraudulent advertising of secret, alternative cures (did you know coral can cure cancer? Well, apparently not, but it sure sounded great!)

It's nice to see the system work, and it's nice that it hammered this jerk to the ground, but it's a pity that only the truly egregious cases are actually punished. I can't for the life of me understand why Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra are allowed to walk around as free men...


  1. Interesting post -- I completely second the sentiment about Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra. I've noticed an alarming trend of board-certified physicians putting their name on best-selling books of 'alternative remedies' and the like.

    I'm surprised the AMA haven't stepped in to control this issue -- the American Bar Association does a very effective job in keeping their members from defrauding the public.

  2. He sounded like one of the old timey snake oil salesmen - cure your addictions, make you skinny AND give you a photographic memory!! What a combination.

  3. The troubling thing with Weil and Chopra, and their ilk, is this: while Dr. Harvey Wiley is undoubtedly turning over in his grave that we're still dealing with snake-oil salesmen a century after his tenure, some of what Weil and Chopra (and others) promote is, indeed, beneficial. Although that which is beneficial tends to be the same common-sense stuff my English grandmother used to preach.

    Getting outdoors into the natural light and running (or walking or biking or whatever) will lift your spirits and strengthen your body. Learning to block out distractions via meditation is beneficial. Keeping your joints flexible--via ballet and/or yoga postures--is de riguer for fortysomething aches-and-pains-suffering folks like me.

    Putting real flowers in your house--in fact, surrounding yourself with art and other beautiful, uplifting things--is indeed conducive to a neurochemical state loosely known as "well being"; in other words, it does cheer you up. Green tea is easier on your jangly nerves than black coffee (though I hate the way everything from yogurt to protein bars to eye cream boasts of "green tea extract" these days--they might as well put a little slimey snake logo on the package, right?)

    Even my ortho believes in (and recommends) taking fish oil and glucosamine, though when I ask him about the exact mechanism involved or scientific studies, he will only say "Deborah, it's still pretty much anecdotal--so give it a try, and see if it works".

    Thing is, that's not what they say on the labels (or book jackets). No, there are all the other far-flung promises, many of which are devoid of even enough anecdotal evidence to earn my doc's tacit "give it a try" approval. The claims are far more wide-reaching, far more snake-oily, and in need of some serious smack-down from the FDA, methinks.

  4. You've put your finger right on what makes Chopra and Weil so dangerous-- Skeptico has dubbed this "The Chopra Bait-and-Switch". They hook people by talking about things that are scientifically proven to be good for you-- fresh air, exercise, a diet high in fruits, veggies and whole grains-- and then he slips in the woo in the same sentence! It makes these folks that much more dangerous, because part of what they say is, in fact, science... but the unwary might just swallow the whole supplement they're trying to sell.

  5. Er, that last comment was to Litbrit. I am undercaffeinated.

  6. good stuff. maybe now when i turn the tv on at 3am because i can't sleep, i won't be greeted with this douchbag's face on the screen.

  7. I use common sense to treat my illnesses. Zicam works for my son's cold, but not for me. (It's just zinc and vitamin C.) So he uses it and I don't.

    Most people don't have common sense anymore, so they resort to lawsuits when random choices don't work out for them. (Gee I think I'll try light therapy to cure this cancer. Oops, it didn't work out. Who can I blame now?)


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