FDA blocked from controlling HCG Clinicsby CanadaHCG on 04/06/14
There was an attempt by the FDA to stop a weight-loss fad that it considers risky but their efforts were thwarted Thursday night by the Florida Board of Medicine at a hearing convened in Deerfield Beach. Ed Tellechea, the Assistant Attorney General and the general counsel of the board, told members that the current laws no longer allow state agencies to enact rules that may kill small businesses and HCG weight-loss clinics fall in that category.
The board can only build a strong case and request the Legislature to make the required enactments, according to Tellechea. “Since the current deadline for filing bills has elapsed, the matter may only be pursued next session 2015,” he added.
The fad that has attracted much interest is the popular hCG diet which restricts the intake of calories. The diet involves injections of artificial human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), the hormone generated in pregnancy. According to the FDA and medical groups, HCG should be used only in some infertility treatments and not for off-label purposes as some body-builders and weight-loss clinics do.
“We have noticed that the owners of the pain-pill clinics which were closed down after the state-driven crackdown are the same faces behind the hCG weight loss business,” doctors on the said.
The board convened after Ken Woliner (a family physician based in Boca Raton) called for crackdown on HCG weight loss clinics, citing reports of HCG diet side effects, such as hair loss, cardiac arrhythmias and other related medical problems. “I have filed complaints about over 100 HCG weight loss clinics to the DOH (Department of Health) without any notable result,” he added.
DOH is mandated to investigate and take action against physicians who violate the practice regulations. But Woliner says instead of revoking the licenses of such physicians, DOH ignores the cases because it considers them unimportant.
But Alison Dudley, the medical board executive director, defended the DOH citing lack of cooperation from HCG users who believe the diet actually works in making them thin or building their muscles.
In fact, there were some hCG’s enthusiasts at the hearing, such as Dr. Sasson Moulavi. Dr. Moulavi said, “I have successfully used hCG injections in my obesity practice for several years without noticing any dangerous side-effects. It helps prevent muscle mass loss during rapid weight loss.” He added the patients who were experiencing the health problems were using the diet while consuming only 500 calories per day.
Earl Bass, who testified at the hearing said the drug has changed his life because he has lost over 130 pounds thanks to the combination of the hCG shots and the intake of low-calorie diet. According to Bass, he was on the path of early death before adopting the HCG weight-loss regimen.
Michael Lowe, the attorney who represented the chain of HCG weight loss clinics, said the complaints were just based on assumptions as there was no scientific evidence suggesting that it has harmed users. “Dr. Woliner is basically asking the board to do what is not within their mandate; regulate the HCG product,” he added.