Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Who Not To Trust: A List of 10 Covid-19 Charlatans and “Medical” Snake-Oil Salesmen

To those who would claim that Covid does not pose a serious health risk and is not a threat to the younger community, I’d like to bring this young doctor’s death to your attention. She was 28, strong, healthy, and in the prime of her life. She wasn’t the first doctor to die from Covid-19 and she won’t be the last

Confused about Covid? Hell yes, who isn’t and you have every right to be. People are lying to you and feeding you misleading information every day. Almost all businesses do it, politicians and the media do it and more recently, a new group has joined their ranks. So-called medical experts — many of whom hold actual qualifications in their ‘fields of expertise’ — are now also misleading you about Covid-19 and a host of other health-related issues.

If you’re not interested in how and why we’ve compiled this list and the criteria we applied in selecting the names below, you can scroll down to the actual list and skip the bits below.

Misguided, Misdirected Medical Mayhem

The key difference between these self-styled “health guru’s’ and your run of the mill politician or media company, is that following their advice can scar you emotionally, cripple your life and your health, bankrupt you — it is your money and blind allegiance they covet — and at worst, lead to your death. They are, what we refer to when we talk about Predatory Health practitioners.

The list below will highlight, by name, some of the most prominent purveyors of Covid-19 falsehoods. You may have already fallen for their self-serving propaganda. It is easy to do. Most of the individuals listed are charismatic, intelligent, educated and some even enjoy the respect of colleagues within their profession. They appear beyond reproach and they specialize in mixing scientific facts with pseudo-science and new age fallacy, little bits of truth to support their larger lie.

They are dangerous, unethical, and empowered as never before by social media platforms that reward their controversial views with algorithms that promote their voices. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a host of others are all willing participants. Controversy is good for business.

The list has been prepared by Medika Life in the interests of public safety during the Covid-19 Pandemic. We process masses of information on the pandemic. Research, opinions, and all the latest news and we afford everyone an equal, impartial opportunity to be heard, no matter their views. Opinions are judged based on supporting figures, verifiable data, and the voices we are privy to from within the medical community reflecting the true impact of Covid in hospitals across the US. We don’t publish one mantra but try to address all aspects of the Covid-19 virus and this is where you come in.

It is an impossibly complex web of information, misinformation, conspiracies, for lack of a better term (yes, they do actually exist within the industry) to try and disseminate. Even experts hold up their hands in confusion and yes, medically trained professionals are as susceptible to being misled as the public. They too rely on data and advice from within the industry and its governing bodies. The Covid-19 pandemic and our global responses have rapidly devolved into a multi-layered cluster-fuck of monumental proportions and again, you have every right to be confused.

You are required to exercise your free will, to inform yourself and to form an independent opinion based on ACTUAL FACTS supported by research that is above reproach. Sadly, of late, even giants like the CDC have been questioned and found wanting. So too with research. Not all of it is to be trusted. In choosing your sources for reliable information, it is as important to know whom you shouldn’t trust.. Here then the criteria, for the sake of fairness and transparency, that we apply to arrive at the list below.

Our Fallacy Filters

This list is based on a single FACT. Covid-19 can kill you and depending on any comorbidities you may exhibit, an unfortunate possession of a gene, and your age, that risk can increase exponentially. This is a fact, as inescapable as the rise and setting of the sun. All else is open to conjecture and sensible debate, as it should be. However, anyone whose statements attempt to diminish the risks of Covid-19 to the public falls foul off the filter. They are endangering the public’s life. Your life and my life.

This one simple fact places them at odds with the basic premise of the medical profession — first do no harm. Our Filters we use are these.

  • Do the views espoused encourage individuals to expose themselves to risk from Covid-19?
  • Are the views promoted harmful to the health of the community at large?
  • Is there a fusion of proven medical science with unrelated and unsubstantiated pseudo-science?
  • Are unrelated and unproven alternate health concepts and beliefs introduced through the selective use of proven but unrelated facts?
  • Is the individual or business abusing its position within the industry to spread disinformation?
  • Are the agendas presented associated with or tied in any way to anti-vaccine groups, conspiracy theorists, and new-age spiritualism?
  • Is there financial motivation, political, social gain, or other to the parties involved in the message they are conveying?

Answering yes to the questions above will place you firmly on Medika’s naughty list. What matters here is that the general public recognizes the importance of these criteria. You can use them to objectively judge news you encounter on a daily basis. If it isn’t free of the above, then chances are there is an agenda involved, one that does not include consideration for your individual health or wellbeing.

Medium recently released a list of trustworthy sources for Covid-19. None of the names on our list appear on their list and the Medium list is an excellent if slightly biased resource for science-based information on the pandemic. Whilst we do not agree fully with all the views these professionals may offer, none of the those mentioned in Medium’s list would intentionally place you in harm’s way and their advice is offered with your wellbeing as the sole motivation. The same cannot be said for the individuals on Medika’s list.

Here then, our list and below it, a little guidance on how to filter the many voices you encounter on social media and across the internet and the press.

in light of recent events (Nov 17, 2020) we have now added Scott Atlas to the Medika Quack Scale. You can read our review of his disinformation campaign here.

The Covid ‘Medical’ Scam Artists Top 10 List of 2020

  1. Kelly Brogan: At number 1 for good reason. Her growing reach and influence belie her message. She is a new age conspiracy theorist/alternate health ‘expert’ and a qualified (currently unregistered) psychiatrist gone bad. The worst kind, who feeds off the misery and mental conditions of her patients for profit and fame. For an object lesson in the abuse and manipulation of the mentally-ill, read this excellent and in-depth report. Her unashamed denial of Covid-19 as a potential killer makes her all the more dangerous and every effort should be made to de-platform her. View Kelly Brogan on Medika’s new Quack Scale.
  2. Sayer Ji: Included at number 2 as he has the questionable distinction of being married to Brogan. A health food salesman with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Rutgers, he runs the pseudoscience, anti-vax website GreenMedInfo.com, which attracts over a million visitors a month. His support of Brogan, ties to QAnon, and his promotion of their dangerous and misleading narrative earn them both the distinct dishonor of top spot. Avoid, unfollow and move on
  3. Zach Bush, MDBush now enjoys his own page on our Quack Scale. An interesting inclusion on the list. Triple board-certified and until recently widely respected within the medical community, his use of science and his medical credentials make his abuse of office and position all the more reprehensible when it comes to diluting the dangers of Covid-19. His newly discovered spiritualist beliefs in an existence beyond this one encourage him to espouse a view of embracing death as an expansion of consciousness. His vocal criticism of Covid-19, which occasionally raises valid issues, has been completely compromised by his views on our ‘journey to the light’. Visit his site and once you’re done taking in his Covid-19 advice, you can shop to your heart’s delight from the range of products he recommends. It would appear not even three medical degrees are a good enough substitute for a paying affiliate stream. A particularly dangerous and beguiling individual. By all means, hope for life after death, just don’t expose yourself to Covid-19 in an effort to achieve it.
  4. Christiane Northrup, MD: With 108 000 followers on Twitter alone, Dr Northrop has reach and is recognized as one of the leading voices in Women’s Health.Northrup’s Facebook post of the fake documentary Plandemic catapulted it out of QAnon groups and into mainstream social media. As with Dr Bush, she raises certain valid points on aspects of the pandemic, only to discredit her voice by siding with fringe elements. This association is dangerous and lends credibility to organizations that should simply be banned for the harm they do to healthcare and the health of individuals or their ability to access care. Read more about Dr Northrup on Medika’s Quack Scale
  5. Dr Joseph Mercola: Dr. Mercola went hog-wild on Covid, recommending a smorgasbord of products and therapies claiming to help treat COVID-19 through his website. Check out his news archive, where you can get a sense of the range of therapies he was pushing, from beets to sweet wormwood to antacids and vitamin C. According to the CSPI, he even advised consumers in a podcast episode and an online article “that intentionally contracting the virus after consuming purportedly immunity-boosting supplements would confer greater protection against COVID-19 than a vaccine would. A complete and utter crock of shit that encouraged people to infect both themselves and others. Inexcusable and his continued ability to trade is a serious indictment of medical regulatory bodies within the US. Read more about the dodgy Dr Mercola on his Quack Scale on Medika Life
  6. Dr Judy Mikovits: She obtained a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from George Washington University in 1991. In a recent video that exploded on social media, the virologist claimed the coronavirus is being wrongly blamed for many deaths. She makes head-scratching assertions about the virus — for instance, that it is “activated” by face masks. The video is an excerpt from the movie Plandemic, which promised to “expose the scientific and political elite who run the scam that is our global health system.” Both her association with and support of Plandemic and her unsubstantiated views on Covid-19 make her a dangerous and unreliable source of information to be avoided. Read more about Judy Mikovits on Medika’s Quack Scale
  7. Dr. Richard Bartlett: Dr. Bartlett claims that he has discovered a magic bullet for the treatment of Covid-19, an existing asthma medicine — inhaled budesonide, a corticosteroid — whose success, he suggests, negates the need for a vaccine. His claims are unsubstantiated outside of the scope of his limited experience with his own patients and ignoring and diminishing the importance of a vaccine, which would prevent infection in the first place, is also hugely irresponsible. As any doctor should know, rigorous trials are required across a large group of patients to accurately establish the real efficacy of any treatment. He has also made various unsubstantiated and false claims about the more widespread use of budesonide in Asian countries as a standard treatment. It would not appear Dr Bartlett has any nefarious intent to spread misinformation, merely that he has preempted a possible treatment in an irresponsible fashion and without due concern for established clinical process and the wellbeing of the broader community.
  8. Dr Stella Immanuel: A Texas-based Nigerian born doctor who highlighted the use of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ), suggesting it was the only thing required to cure Covid-19. Medika is of the belief that there is value to the use of HCQ as a form of early intervention if used in conjunction with other treatments. The drug has however been tainted, both politically and within the industry, and is now effectively buried. Dr Immanuel is a pastor of her own church in Texas and readily mixes science, religion, spiritualism, and esoteric beliefs. She is no stranger to controversy and once again, the undesirable mix of science, new age magic, and religion simply added to the controversy surrounding HCQ. A potentially useful treatment that has now been lost.
  9. Dr. Sherill Sellman (featured on Medika’s Quack scale here)This naturopathic physician is a real piece of work. She currently faces legal action and cease and desist letters from both the FDA and the New York Attorney General’s office. Her recommended cure of colloidal silver for Covid-19 included products offered for sale on her website. Colloidal silver has no proven effect on the coronavirus and can cause serious side effects including permanent discoloration of the skin. Dr. Sellman serves as an excellent example of the following. Never make the mistake of confusing a medical qualification with honesty or integrity. Neither of the latter are prerequisites for the former.
  10. America’s Frontline Doctors (AFLD) (read our latest expose, 2021/13/01, on Simone Gold, MD the founder of this dangerous group, here): An organization fills No 10 and you’ll soon see why. Not to be confused with the AAFP. The Academy is in no way affiliated with this group. The AAFP is a partner in America’s Front-line Physicians — the Group of Six(www.groupof6.org) — a coalition that advocates for evidence-based care. America’s Frontline Doctors are in no way connected. Here are 7 of AFLD’s founding members, in no particular order;
  • Stella Immanuel, MD (look familiar),
  • James Todaro, MD,
  • Bob Hamilton, MD,
  • Dan Erickson, DO,
  • Richard Urso, MD,
  • Joseph Ladapo, MD, PhD
  • Simone Gold, MD, JD,

AFLD’s agenda is interwoven with right-wing politics to the extent that the two are almost inseparable. The doctors listed above have no actual proven exposure to Covid-19 patients and as such are not in a position to make the outrageous claims they make relating to treatments and the opening of the countries economy and schools. Three of the doctors do not actively practice and two are ophthalmologists, hardly what you’d call a glowing recommendation and referring to themselves as ‘America’s Frontline’ is disingenuous and insulting to the real physicians that risk their lives daily on the forefront of Covid-19.

It is disrespectful to the thousands that have died and to our young doctor, Adeline Fagan, who selflessly made the ultimate sacrifice to protect her patients. Avoid both the organization and the doctors associated with it and should you encounter them or the doctors involved, unfollow, unfriend and de-platform.

The tip of the iceberg

Sadly, this isn’t a complete list, not by a long shot. Many other quacks and medical charlatans continue to operate openly and without consequence, spreading disinformation and false hope, mostly for the purposes of self enrichment. Sadly, one of the areas most prone to this is psychology, but that is another post for another day.

Hopefully, this list will offer you a little more insight into the mechanisms employed by these individuals and help you avoid them in the future. Their biggest sales tools are your desperation and your fear. They sell to this, they speak to this, they encourage it and they abuse these emotions for their own gain. Never forget that.

Finally, there is one last additional test you can apply to these individuals which will invariably expose them. It isn’t foolproof, but rather an additional tool in your “bullshit arsenal”. Use it when needed.

The Goodness Guide

Goodness is the one thing con artists and misleading marketing cannot fake, not for an extended period of time. Most doctors — there are many of them — who enter the profession motivated by a desire to help their fellow humans, exude this goodness. It cannot be faked convincingly and their overwhelming desire to assist their patients is obvious in all their actions. Good doctors are born to their profession. Want an example?

Read his articles. They are filled with compassion, care and genuine concern for his patients. He is quick to speak out against injustices in the profession, issues that affect his patient’s access to healthcare, in defense of minorities and in favor of equal opportunity. He is consistent and he is genuine. You cannot fake this and on a subconscious level, we can all recognize it. This is what I refer to as Goodness. Let it guide you.

Watch this space for our next list on the fraudsters that occupy psychology as we highlight the structural flaws in a system that will if left unchecked, become the healthcare scourge of our century.

Reporting a Healthcare Professional

In the U.S: The American Medical Association lists a very clear and distinct set of guidelines or Code of Conduct for doctors and healthcare professionals. If you feel this code has been breached, or if you have concerns relating to your healthcare provider, you need to get in touch with your state’s licensing board. You can find contact details for all the state boards on this page, The Federation of State Medical Boards

Medwatch is a brand of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and they have teeth with which to bite. You can access their online form for registering a complaint by following this link. At the moment, they’re really hot on fake covid-19 products and treatments and the individuals and websites selling the products or spreading misinformation.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is an excellent place to register your covid related complaints as they have a task team set up specifically to protect consumers against charlatans and quacks. Fill in their online form or call their dedicated National Helpline number. They are also the place to report price gouging and hoarding.

In the U.K: Direct your complaints to the GMC (General Medical Council) via their website, which also makes allowance for Welsh speakers.

The article lives here Who Not To Trust: A List of 10 Covid-19 Charlatans and “Medical”...
Dr Robert Turnerhttps://medika.life
Robert is a Founder of Medika Life. He is a published author and owner of Cre8tive Digital Media. He lives between the Philippines and the UK. and is an outspoken advocate for a better internet. Global access to basic healthcare and eradicating racial and gender bias in medicine are key motivators behind the Medika website and reflect Robert's passion for accessible medical care.

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1 COMMENT

  1. An additional resource for reprting these quacks is now available through the Department of Justice.
    You can reach out to the DOJ by clicking on this link (https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdpa/covid-19-fraud-page) and the FDA complaints mechanism is also open to the public.

    Keep in mind that the best way to fight these charlatans is to remove them from the social media platforms they use to spread their lies. Report them on Twitter, on Facebook and on Youtube and wherever else you come across their accounts.

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