Scam “clinical trial” targets the hard of hearing

It was enough to make my blood boil. A family member who has hearing problems passed me an announcement for a “Field Trial Notification” that contained wording that made it sound like a legitimate clinical trial. Things like, “You have been selected to receive this invitation to participate in this study” and “We will be selecting only 20 local residents as candidates for this field test at this time.” The notice gave three “inclusion criteria” similar to what you would see in a legitimate ad for a clinical trial. However, these folks are just peddling their product. There is no research going on and people who answer the ad are going to have to pay a price, which is never stated, for the hearing aid.

There are some dead giveaways that this isn’t a study of any kind. Three things are:

1. There is no clear statement of research, only the suggestion of a “study” and a “field test.”

2. It uses language such as “incredibly discreet” and “comfortable.”

3. It states that “Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed.”

If this was a legitimate clinical trial an institutional review board (IRB) would have to approve the language in all advertisements and no legitimate IRB would ever allow such suggestive language. This is a scam to try to sell a particular brand of hearing aid, pure and simple. This type of deceptive advertising has been around since they invented snake oil. Its one of the reasons we have an FDA. The new leadership at FDA seems intent on going after the most fraudulent shysters, particularly with phony H1N1 “cures.” They’ve got a big job in front of them.

I’m all for alternative therapies and have an appointment with my acupuncturist tomorrow. I know some fine people using homeopathic medicines. There are also a lot of frauds out there and the ones who target seriously ill people with difficult health problems for nothing other than personal gain should be tarred & feathered and run out of town on a rail. (In my humble opinion.)

2 Responses to Scam “clinical trial” targets the hard of hearing

  1. Erica says:

    Carl – I cut this ad out of the Sunday paper. I agree that it is really deceptive and thought that – in my spare time – I might walk down the street to “ask” about it. But then… what spare time? Or maybe this is what should be done to protect the reputation of research???

  2. Carl's Blog on FDA Stuff says:

    Erica- I agree about the spare time:) And also about the ad. Blog readers should know that Erica is an IRB professional working at Independent Review Consulting, Inc. I have put them on the Blogroll. Their website is a great source of research cartoons.

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