Quackery, pure and simple

What constitutes quackery depends very much on how quackery is defined. If part of that definition is making false or unsubstantiated claims about a medical product you are selling, then Dr. Rolando Arifiles is a quack.

Dr Arafiles and his cronies in the Winkler County government may not realize is that this "internet" thing works both ways. It may increase your ability to sell fake cures, but it also opens you up to being discovered. Of course, increasing your profile by abusing the legal system to quiet critics doesn't help.

The FDA and FTC aren't too happy about the proliferation of fake flu cures coinciding with the H1N1 pandemic. They are so unhappy that they are making a special point of going after people preying on the public:

"Products that are offered for sale with claims to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus must be carefully evaluated," said Commissioner of Food and Drugs Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. "Unless these products are proven to be safe and effective for the claims that are made, it is not known whether they will prevent the transmission of the virus or offer effective remedies against infection. Furthermore, they can make matters worse by providing consumers with a false sense of protection."

The Quack Miranda Warning is no protection against this sort of malfeasance.

So, in case this site goes down the memory hole, I grabbed a screen shot. According to my sources (OK, and Arifiles' own LinkedIn profile), Dr. Arifiles is the owner of the Healt2Fit website.


See the circled bit?  The part where Arifiles claims that his colloidal silver gel is FDA approved for swine flu?  That's not OK.   

It would probably be unfortunate for him if the FTC or FDA were to hear about this.  It might take away some of the precious resources he needs to help him fight the civil suit filed against him

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It also says that silver gel is good for malaria. Whew! I guess that nasty malaria problem is finally solved.

By Arnold T Pants (not verified) on 13 Feb 2010 #permalink

The PDF of the civil suit is very interesting, especially once you get to the actual exhibits. Arafiles was hired in 2008, Anne Mitchell in 1987. Stan Wiley, the hospital director, did everything in his power to make sure no official scrutiny could be placed on Arafiles internally by rescheduling and canceling meetings, and by making sure all complaints to external agencies had to be approved by the hospital board (and him), thus preventing any external scrutiny. This does not bode well, even if Mr. Wiley is a saint.

At least three nurses, one other doctor, and the emergency department had concerns about Arafiles, so the concerns weren't limited to only two "brave, maverick" or "rogue" nurses. Winkler County Medical Center has 12 beds; what fraction of hospital staff was being stonewalled and silenced by Wiley? And why isn't his name getting tossed around more in this fiasco?

Further, the Texas Medical Board seemed to do everything in its power to warn the prosecutor off vindictive prosecution. Arafiles is probably in a lot more trouble with them now, not because this case has a lot more exposure, but because it is now very clear this was a blatant attempt to harass and silence witnesses to the Texas Medical Board! IIRC, Arafiles' case is still open with the TMB and it is very likely that the TMB will add harassing witnesses to the complaint against him. Even if he's done nothing wrong (for the sake of argument) strong-arming those reporting him should get him in very big trouble indeed.

Two lessons here: First, compose complaint letters on your own private computer, print two copies (again, at home), delete the original electronic files, and put the second copy in a safety deposit box or other secure offsite location. Make it difficult for others to find an 'anonymous' letter where you might have written it.

Second, anonymize the hell out of your 'anonymous' complaint. If you leave off your name but then note that you're a 50-ish woman who's been employed since the 1980s at a particular small hospital, YOU ARE NOT REALLY ANONYMOUS ANYMORE! It's very much like the Monty Python sketch on "How Not to Be Seen." I'm not blaming the victims here - they should be able to trust that anonymous complaints are kept confidential. But pragmatically, don't give out any more info than is absolutely required. It would've made the petty tyrant sheriff's job a lot harder.

Your shitting me, right? Schlafly represented Arafiles? This is just getting better by the minute.

Wow, nice catch.

By Arnold T Pants (not verified) on 13 Feb 2010 #permalink

Another AAPS-affiliated doctor on Beck's health care show
October 18, 2009 2:48 pm ET by Terry Krepel

We previously highlighted how Glenn Beck's October 16 Fox News program on health care reform included in its audience of doctors Richard Amerling, a director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a conservative-leaning group that holds several controversial views, including promoting the right-wing conspiracy theory that Vince Foster didn't commit suicide.

Now, Talking Points Memo has identified another AAPS-affiliated doctor in Beck's audience: David McKalip, the doctor who notoriously emailed a racist image depicting President Obama as a witch doctor to his fellow "tea party" activists.

AAPS' "Take Back Medicine" website features an "open letter to America's physicians" by McKalip asserting that health care reform will "turn doctors into servants of the state, insurance companies, hospitals, and everyone except who matters most: the patient."


and remember Ron Paul is all about "health freedom" also

By military wife (not verified) on 14 Feb 2010 #permalink

I remember when the FDA had Nyquil to remove Vitamin C from their product. I know that there are some out there that claim to have "cures" for the swine flu. Many of these herbal supplement manufacturers do not claim anything of the sort. Their claim is that the product "may" boost immunity. That's all they usually say. Remember Kellogs Rice Crispies faced the medical mafia for putting "immunity boosting" on their box? What's wrong with that?

The FDA is getting way out of control. The swine flu was hardly a pandemic and most ofmthe people who dies from it were small children and people who already had a major health concern to begin with. Why not boost their immunity? It's a hell of a lot better than taking some vaccine that would render them paralyzed or dead in a matter of hours. The FDA need restructuring. We need to get rid of all the big pharma associates in the FDA - fire them all and restructure the whole organization.

Vitamin C is good for colds if taken properly. However, if mega doses are taken, kidney stones and other problems can occur. Colloidal Silver kills over 400 viruses and a wide range of fungi and bacteria including salmonella and E. Coli yet has virtually no side effects whatsoever. The FFA doesn't approve becuase big pharma can't make big bucks to bribe Senators with and win elections with when people don't buy their medicine. It's a politcal game. Nothing more.

By Johnson B. Long (not verified) on 15 Feb 2010 #permalink

@7 Johnson B. Long
Do you have link for the news story about NyQuil and vitamin C?

By Arnold T Pants (not verified) on 15 Feb 2010 #permalink

Johnson B. Long ranted: "Colloidal Silver kills over 400 viruses and a wide range of fungi and bacteria including salmonella and E. Coli yet has virtually no side effects whatsoever."

You don't consider *turning blue* to be a side effect?

I always love how people quoting the silver thing ignore the whole 'kills in vitro' vs. 'kills in vivo'. Sufficient concentrations of silver to kill '400 viruses etc' in your body (even allowing your claim to be true) would probably kill you.

And as above, it'll at least turn you blue.

Bob: I believe that the way the sheriff found the two nurses was by asking the patients whose cases were cited (by number only) in the complaint. So in that small part, the nurses couldn't have really done anything more to protect their identity.

(And the sheriff was far more in violation of patient confidentiality.)

By JustaTech (not verified) on 16 Feb 2010 #permalink

Fair enough; in this case I doubt there was any way to remain anonymous. Generally speaking, though, being a whistleblower puts one at substantial professional risk. Simple data security can help lessen the risk of outing substantially.

Never mind that in the reality-based world, we know that an unusual number of the people who died of swine flu were not "people who already had a major health concern," they were otherwise healthy young adults.

Johnson B. Long (brother, stop reading those viagra spams) is dismissing swine flu because many of the deaths were of small children (true) and of otherwise vulnerable people. I'm not much impressed by medical or other advice from people who don't care about the deaths of children, the elderly, and the handicapped.

Johnson B. Long (brother, stop reading those viagra spams)

Vicki FTW!

Many of those young adults who died of swine flu were pregnant women, a population generally not considered at high risk. Nyquil and silver could do interesting things to a fetus, though.
Johnson B. Long? Not long enough to make up for a lack of brain...