Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Convicted Felon Self Publishes Best Seller "Natural Cures They Don't Want You to Know About"

Yesterday, USA Today had an interesting article about Kevin Trudeau, author of the bestselling Natural Cures “They” Don’t Want You To Know About. (Monday, August 8, 2005, section D, p.1-2.)

Gary Strauss reports, “Kevin Trudeau has no medical training. He’s a convicted felon. And he has been banned from hawking products and services on TV that federal regulators charge have no merit.” The Federal Trade Commission sued Trudeau in 2003 for making false claims about coral calcium and as a result of that lawsuit, he is not allowed to make any medical claims on T.V. or to sell any products at all on TV, except for his book, which is protected by the first amendment (free speech.) In addition to his problems with the FTC, he served two years in prison for credit card fraud. In the related article in the same issue of USA Today, reporter Lisa Szabo relates the following bits of erroneous and even dangerous medical advice found in Trudeau’s book: “The sun does not cause cancer. Sunblock has been shown to cause cancer.” “Get 15 colonics in 30 days.” Yikes! I think that speaks for itself. “Antiperspirants…[are] one of the major causes of breast cancer.” Major medical groups, researchers, doctors, and government agencies have disputed much of the health advice he gives in his book. The book advises readers to go to his website, which can be used for a fee and on which Trudeau does hawk his products. The FTC banned him from TV advertising of his products, other than the book, but they do not have the authority to ban his use of the internet. Anyone can make a website and say anything at all on the world wide web.

So why did the library and a couple dozen other libraries in New Jersey purchase this book? It was not reviewed in any of the usual review sources that librarians read to select books, but it is on the bestseller list and patrons were requesting it. Since it was added to the collection a couple of months ago, it has been checked out four times and currently has five holds on it. We don’t always agree with the contents of the books we select for the library, but it’s the patrons’ responsibility to judge for themselves.

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