People like me who deal with diabetes every day on the Internet know that the hucksters are targeting us more and more with their scams and schemes. For people in business, diabetes has a well-deserve reputation as a growth industry.
But until now it seems to have escaped the notice of the U.S. government that we are getting ripped off more and more. Surprisingly, it is one of the government’s least aggressive agencies that just went after these bums.
I don’t remember ever hearing about the Federal Trade Commission having anything to do with diabetes until this week. But the FTC has now gone after these bad actors with gusto.
Working with the Food and Drug Administration and the governments of Canada and Mexico, the FTC has sent out about 180 warning letters. The FTC says that it’s sent warning letters for deceptive ads to 84 U.S. and seven Canadian Web sites that target American consumers. The agency also referred an additional 21 sites to other foreign governments. About a quarter of the firms have already changed their claims or removed their pages from the Internet, and several others are in contact with FTC, the agency says.
Even more aggressively and imaginatively, the FTC has set up a sort of sting operation. It’s not what we typically think of as a sting, because potential customers – you and me – are the stingees.
To get a bit of consumer education just click on Glucobate. “Glucobate™ acts at the microcellular level to attack the cause of the disease. What's the secret? Cucumis melo — or Elixir of Muskmelon — an all-natural sugar regulator with none of the side effects of the medications that break your budget without curing your condition.”
That would be wonderful if true. But when you click on the “order now” button, you learn that Glucobate is really Glucofake. The FTC fakes us out so we will start to be a little more skeptical of the ads that we read on the Internet. Do take a look at the excellent tips the FTC offers to help us make sound judgements about them.
That’s quite helpful. But what I think is best about this joint effort is that the FDA is naming names. It’s “List of Firms Receiving Warning Letters for Marketing Unproven Dietary Supplements for Diabetes with Illegal Drug Claims” is online.
The list has some big names. It includes several companies that people send me emails all the time asking about.
I know several of these so well that I don’t have to look them up. They include Beta Fast GXR at informulab.com, RiSoTriene at healthy-living.org, and last but certainly not least, Diamaxol, the new name for Diabeticine at micronutra.com.
HealthCentral.com, which hosts this blog, is blocking ads from all of the 28 sites that the FDA announced that it sent the 24 warning letters to. So am I on my site. As the government lets us know the names and addresses of the other sites that it has warned, we will block their ads too. It’s the least that we can do to help the government’s crack down and to help people with diabetes.
I don’t recommend that you look at these sites. It actually made me sick to the stomach to read the outrageous claims there. But any time you’re tempted to waste your money, this may be handy.
Here is the complete list of the sites for which the FDA sent out warning letters. This is actually a small fraction of the scam sites out there, and you can be sure that some of these scammers will set up new sites in an effort to keep fooling us. But this is a start: