Undercover Dermatology Sting Exposes Sun-Scare Tactics
Author Harmon Leon gives Cosmo's undercover reporting antics a run for their money with his recent article in The Huffington Post,
"Is Profit Behind Dermatology's 'Sun Scare' Message?"
Leon acknowledges the constant media messaging from the dermatology community: wear lots of sunscreen; apply it early and often; avoid sun exposure at all costs. He contrasts it with the increasing regularity of other physicians advising UV exposure to gain the benefits of vitamin D and beyond.
He visited several dermatologists in the San Francisco area to take a deeper look at what's really being said behind closed (doctors') doors. He doesn't miss a beat, getting one doctor to suggest and agree to removing non-cancerous moles by lying about them being irritants. In this, harmless moles are removed, insurance companies pay the doctors, and false information is added to the melanoma statistics.
Leon tackles a plethora of similarly concerning issues, including the way these physicians responded about:
•the link between vitamin D deficiency and sunscreen use
•misinformation about cancer statistics
•the SPF ratings of sunscreen
•ways to prevent skin cancer
•harmful ingredients in sunscreen products
•the availability of tanning equipment in the doctor's offices (and how the doctors bill it to insurance as "phototherapy" vs. having the patient pay a tanning salon much less for the same services - that is, if they admit to the patient that they're the same)
He also ratted out big pharma for financially supporting skin cancer groups and The American Academy of Dermatology so that they would endorse the use of sunscreen products. Leon charges: "Could this multimillion-dollar business from cosmetics companies be affecting the objectivity of dermatology lobbying groups and the derms in our communities?"
Looking Fit 07/16/2010