As Swallowed by the Media

You may have noticed on several news sites yesterday that Tangerine peel ‘kills cancer’ as reported by the BBC, the Sun, Sky News and others. Apparently, the
British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester has been shown results by a Dr Hoon Tan of the Leicester School of Pharmacy (de Montfort University) that eating fruit peel might kill cancer cells in your body.

The Quackometer was jumpy. We have seen how Leicester researchers have previously been using the media to promote their food supplement products through a privately set up company, Natures Defence. The Quackometer line has been that creating a company producing food supplements where there is no evidence that they will have any effect on people taking the pills is just quackery. And it is quackery apparently supported by the staff of de Montfort University.

So, does this press release contain the long awaited evidence that we should be popping a salvestrol pill? Er, no. The press release just creates a variation on the spin on the salvestrol story. This story has been that salvestrols are vital to stop or kill cancer in your body and you can never eat enough. This press release tells us that tangerine peel contains the right amount, but who in their right mind is going to eat lots of peel? Better pop some pills. There is no announcement of any peer reviewed papers that are to be published. There is no detail whatsoever of where we can find out more about the evidence that Dr Tan supposedly has. However, there is an announcement that:

The researchers have formed a private company, Nature’s Defence Investments, to protect and promote their research, with the potential of designing a natural anti-cancer alternative based on this new technology.

Forgive me for being old fashioned, but I though Universities were there to provide environments for academics to freely research and discover new truths, publish their results and teach the next generation of future researchers and students. Not allow their employees to set up private companies to exploit unpublished hunches by selling quack nutrition pills.

This press release from the BPC is not trying to inform the world about the latest research going on in our Universities, it is a private company advertisement. And the good boys and girls of the press, such as Emma Morton of the Sun, have published this advert for free. Now, all the subsidiary companies of Natures Defense (Fruit Force, Salvestrol), and other nutri-pill stores selling salvestrols, have nice endorsements and news stories from the BBC to say how good their products are.

We should not be too surprised. Universities are dumbing down to get the funding and students in. Leiceter School of Pharmacy was recently investigated for passing MPharm students who did not reach the required standards of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. Could these events be linked?

5 Comments on As Swallowed by the Media


    A California Appeals Court, yesterday, April 22, 2003, bludgeoned the National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), and their whole argumentabout what constitutes good and bad health care. The quackbuster’s operating theme, the argument they use against alternative proponents, came under a major American Court’s scrutiny. The Court, basically, in their decision, said the the quackbuster’s arguments were hogwash, and they had no business meddling in California’s system.

    The Court also declared that top quackbusters Stephen Barrett (, and Wallace Sampson MD (Scientific Review of Alternative and Aberrant Medicine) “were found to be biased and unworthy of

    The quackbusters lost in a PUBLISHED case. The quackbuster premise failed. Not some of it, not most of it – but ALL of it. The “quackbuster” measuring stick for how to evaluate health care has been completely discredited. Official quackbuster credibility is now ZERO.

    In a minute I’m going to give you a link to the Appeals Court decision. But first let me give you a road map.

    Here’s what happened…

    The quackbuster’s flagship, the self-proclaimed National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) decided, one day, to sue about 43 “Alternative Medicine proponents” in California, basically claiming that all of them were engaging in health fraud “because what they were doing wasn’t scientifically proven.”

    Their argument was that “the defendant has to PROVE their products work, or it’s health fraud.”

    California was the wrong place for them to try this stunt. Here, health freedom bills tend to pass through the legislature UNANIMOUSLY. We like to be healthy. It’s our life style.

    The very first case that came to trial was called NCAHF vs, King Bio (a manufacturer of about 50 homeopathic products). The NCAHF lost badly. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Haley Fromholz wrote a long decision, virtually battering the quackbusters for wasting the court’s time with their silly case. The quackbusters had accused King Bio of false advertising. At issue was the credibility of the NCAHF’s
    witnesses, Stephen Barrett, and Wallace Sampson MD. The Judge thrashed their arguments. You can read the Judge’s words in this original case decision by clicking here:

    You can find out who King Bio is by going to their website:

    The NCAHF appealed. And, boy did it cost them. You need to read the decision. It is written in plain language, not legalese, and is clearly understandable. Read the footnotes also. Pass this around to anyone under attack by the quackbusters. Their attorneys will love this precedent setting case.

    To me one of the more important statements is the last footnote in the Appeal Court’s decision, for it attacks the whole quackbuster operation It says, “The trial court concluded NCAHF failed to prove a false or misleading statement. King Bioâ?Ts expert testified the products were safe and effective. The products were included in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia and complied with FDA guidelines. NCAHF presented no evidence that King Bioâ?Ts products were not safe and effective, relying instead on a general attack on homeopathy, made by witnesses who had no knowledge of, or experience with, King Bioâ?Ts products, and who were found to be biased and unworthy of credibility.”

    But more occurred. “At trial, NCAHF proceeded on the theory that there is no scientific basis for the advertised efficacy of King Bio’s products. NCAHF performed no tests to determine the efficacy of King Bio’s products and presented no anecdotal evidence. NCAHF instead argued that King Bioâ?Ts products were drugs, and the scientific community required representations regarding the efficacy of drugs to be supported by acceptable scientific evidence. NCAHF asserted that the burden of proof should be shifted to King Bio to prove its productsâ?T efficacy.

    On appeal, NCAHF acknowledges that, under current California law, a false advertising plaintiff bears the burden of proving the defendants advertising claim is false or misleading. NCAHF contends, however, that we should shift the burden of proof to the defendant to facilitate the campaign against health fraud. NCAHF argues that federal law shifts the burden to the defendant in false advertising actions.”

    In response to the NCAHF’s demands, the Court said: “We conclude there is no basis in California law to shift the burden of proof to a defendant in a representative false advertising and unlawful competition action.

    We conclude further that the Legislature has indicated an intent to place the burden of proof on the plaintiff in such cases. Finally, we conclude federal authority is not apposite.” What this means to the North American Health Freedom Movement…

    This is a PUBLISHED case. It is PRECEDENT setting. It can (and should) be used in any case in the US where quackbusters are involved. The quackbusters have been court tested – and they lost. Their whole argument against alternative medicine has been thrown in the trash. Their credibility is zero.

    The case was handled, on our side, by famous California litigator, Carlos Negrete. You can read his comments on the case at

    You can read the whole case decision by clicking

  2. but that case was won on a point of law rather than evidence of efficacy.

    the judge ruled that they had to prove that particular remedy did not work rather than by trying to show that homeopathy didn’t work, and that they were biased.

    This is simply evidence of naivety of the legal system. rather than proof that their arguments are wrong.

    It is a shame that ‘alternative’ remedies do not have to undergo the same burden of proof as ‘conventional’ medicine. that would truly be a proper measure of efficacy.

  3. Well said symball,

    Anonymous – I think you need to consider what role law courtshave in the scientific process. I think the answer is ‘none’.

    As we say here in England, the law is an ass.

  4. “but that case was won on a point of law rather than evidence of efficacy.”

    The point is that the crackpots and quackwatch (lots of mirrors there?) had NO case and stood to cash in for their “expert” testimony on behalf of their business partners at NCAHF. They were not unbiased, they had conflicts of interest, and the litigation had zero merit. Period. These zealots actually want to eradicate the alternative and complimentary therapies which they don’t like in their unqualified opinions (or maybe just because they don’t stand to benefit from them somehow if their checkered history has anything to say).

    Another court found that Mr. Barrett wasn’t even close to being qualified to give “expert” testimony to begin with and actively misrepresented himself. The guy is literally the biggest quacks of all, king of the pond. What a JOKE!

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