Im a big fan of people staying as healthy as possible; staying well is decidedly a good thing as anyone diagnosed with an illness will be painfully aware of. In my time I almost always considered lifestyle factors in my consultations and I now participate in a healthy living clinic for people recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. How we live our lives, what we breathe, eat, drink and how we think makes a big difference to health and wellbeing. Wellbeing is self evidently an important goal.
So why is it that I feel antipathy towards an American outfit called the “Wellness Company” offering free services to the vulnerable? What could possible be wrong with that? Let me explain.
Like anyone, I was horrified by the recent rail crash in East Palestine, Ohio. How incredibly unlucky for the residents to suddenly have an environmental disaster right on their doorstep, to have huge issues with air and water pollution, to feel insecure about their future and unhappy in their homes. Like so many of these terrible events, corporate cost cutting, inadequate regulation, toothless monitoring and downright corruption compounded the bad luck of a red hot wheel which ignited the fire.
The train took, oil tanker like, too long to slow down after the problem was detected and it exploded right there in the East Palestinian community. The clean up will be expensive and difficult.
The acute medical consequences of this are clear enough with the lungs bearing the brunt, but the long term problems are potentially many and complex and include ongoing anxiety about the safety of living in the community that many cannot afford to leave.
Local doctors do their best but are poorly equipped to deal with toxicological issues, and even the EPA admits the threats to health are uncertain and may well change with time. Combustion of vinyl chloride carried in five of the wagons can lead to the generation of dioxins and even phosgene, a highly deadly gas. The emergency clinic provided by the state provided only questionnaires and treatment so far seems to be little more that ibuprofen and creams.
Thus anger and distrust of authority is be totally understandable and into that void steps, with offers of ‘free medical care’, the Wellness Company. Whats not to like about that? – It turns out quite a lot.
One big red flag is the Chief Scientific Officer of the outfit – Peter McCullough. For anyone following the pandemic of misinformation he has sadly been unmissable with his brand of rampant misinformation dressed in a veneer of authority. He is now an ex-cardiologist and who has got things so wrong that the American Board of Internal Medicine nullified his accreditations in cardiology and internal medicine. This is due to his misleading, inaccurate and frankly dangerous advice. He has become unemployable despite his oft asserted boast that he is one of the world top doctors, a mantle anti-vaccine doctors often claim and something that genuine doctors would not.
He now makes his pitch with TWC – selling what seems like a high cost collection of ingredients, called “Dr. McCullough’s Mito Support Formula” which claims to “Supercharge your energy and restore cell health.” and significantly shrink your wallet while expanding his. Methinks the American Board of Internal Medicine were right.
They also offer help to those who wish to not get vaccinated, though strictly speaking, medical exemptions should be few and far between.
Wow! Free medical care in the nations whose healthcare system is deeply flawed and unavailable to many – how can this damage health? For example, you could have called them to avoid a vaccine, get a certificate, say goodbye to quite a lot of cash, contracted COVID19 and had a worse outcome.
Their online offer states:
“Residents of the impacted area are encouraged to go to TWC.health/derailment and register to receive free acute virtual care with a licensed doctor or medical provider”
First, you have to set up an account with then which guarantees that you are plugged into their sales pitch and there is an App to make access easier.
For one thing the care offered is ‘virtual’ – on line consultations with health care professionals. That is not necessarily a bad thing, and increasingly common nowadays, but does miss out on the nuances of seeing people and the invaluable physical examination required by significant physical symptoms which of course is out of the question.
Superficially that may seem a big and tempting step up from the problems accessing a caring voice in the US healthcare system, but there is also a frustration in opening up to distant professionals who offer advice and then leave your life which clearly happens here. Talking is not necessarily therapy even from when a doctor; it has to have an outcome, and the outcome here are needless lab tests, prescriptions for supplements and ‘detoxification’ products which will cost the ‘patients’ hard earned cash and have little or no evidence of benefit.
For another, they claim their doctors are “…creating a parallel system of healthcare and wellness that puts the patients first”. This rings alarm bells for me – any health professional does their best to ‘put the patient first’. “Parallel” suggests an alternative to standard medicine, in other words medicine which seeks to dispense with evidence for personal gain irrespective of scientific consensus. A danger area into which the vulnerable stray at their peril.
There is a gigantic dose of self interest in that they are only offering to help because they believe in the stuff they want to sell. Putting the patient first? If they don’t make sales, such outfits implode very rapidly.
That leads to a veritable warehouse of products such at their “Immune Boost Formula”, a mixture of ingredients of little value which will cost $56 (£45) a month and of course logically (if you believe it works), would go on the drain $672 (£537) a year and if you take it for ever $6720 (£5370) a decade. If the supplement doesn’t work, and there is little evidence that they do, that is a significant amount of money that could have been much better spent elsewhere.
Many of their products are dressed up concoctions to address wide ranging problems of ageing, immunity allergy and others. This adds to the cost of the individual ingredients and all their products seem inordinately expensive for what they offer. For instance, their preparation of Vitamin C 1000mg costs $33.99 for 40 tablets, ten times the cost of Vitamin C 1g elsewhere.
They may say that the patients have been poisoned, and thus need for ‘detoxification’, which outside drug withdrawal programmes it another total but very profitable myth.
Do long term supplements do harm? Given the benign constituents of the products, that is not likely, but who knows? Removing cash from less well off definitely does direct harm. No question.
So at the end of the consultation the relatively poor residents of East Palestine could potentially end up taking a plate load of supplements which are expensive and not based on any real evidence of effectiveness.
Given much of the health damaging nonsense he has been so prominent in sharing I’m so glad that their Chief Medical Officer, Peter McCullough is no longer a practising doctor. Indeed it’s despairing that it has taken so long. Now he is selling supplements to the vulnerable on a convincing highly polished website which masquerades as expertise and has clearly used the opportunity in East Palestine for some free publicity. How the mighty fall!
At best the residents will not have noticed the visit of the Wellness Company, or be aware of their “free” offer or their tempting website. At worst they will sign up and end up swallowing a shed load of useless supplements, impoverishing them further and fooling them into believing in quackery.
Of course, wellness is a noble and important concept but increasingly corrupted by the drive to extract as much profit as possible from people who are vulnerable to the hype. The internet, and indeed every high street chemist is awash with offers to improve your health by parting with cash and popping supplements, minerals and vitamins, all dressed up as good science.
Taking products can be a lifelong investment entered into on the back of poor information for little or no return and remove the opportunity of saving the cash for something that really matters. This matters.
Put simply, Wellness can be Bad Medicine!