Chiropractor Disciplined for
Misleading Advertising

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

Farris Odeh is selling dietary supplements through an "eBay store." His welcoming page states:

I am have been in the field of nutrition and healing since 1991. I have had several of my own clinics in the Chicago land area as well as in Maui, Hawaii. I have several degrees in healthcare including Chiropractic, Nutrition, Massage, Physical Therapy, Radiology, and Acupuncture. I have had weekly talk shows in Hawaii for the last 7 years where I talk about some of the newest and most effective treatment cures for hundreds of Illnesses and diseases that can keep people from leading a health life [1].

In 1998, Kurt Butler, a local antiquackery activist noted that Odeh was making unsubstantiated claims in a flyer distributed by his Aloha Family Chiropractic in Kahului, Hawaii. The flyer stated:

Chiropractic healing successfully treats . . . headaches, acne, all types of pain, allergies, anxiety attacks, arm numbness/tingling, arm pain, asthma, attention deficit disorder, auto accident injury, back pain, birth trauma, bladder infections, cancer, carpal tunnel syndrome, chest pain, colds & flu, colic in children, constipation, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping, ear infections, endometriosis, epilepsy, hand numbness, hand pain, high blood pressure, hormone imbalances, hyperactivity, hypertension, impotence, indigestion, infections, infertility, internal diseases, intestinal disorders, irritability, jaw pain, laryngitis, learning disabilities, leg numbing/tingling, leg pain, leukemia, menstrual problems, migraine headaches, muscular dystrophy, nightmares, PMS, ringing in the ears, sciatica, sinus trouble, sore throats, stress, TMJ, weight problems, whiplash injuries, workers comp. injuries, neck pain . . . and many, many other conditions. . . . We educate you so that you can live a healthy life to its fullest.

Butler also noted that Odeh's Saturday morning radio program routinely denigrated medical doctors and advised listeners not to take prescription drugs. When Butler sent a copy of the flyer plus an tape of one program to the state licensing authorities, supervising Inspector Robert B. Hottenstein of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (Maui Office) responded:

Case: CHI 98-3-L
This letter is written to inform you that the investigation into the complaint you filed . . . has been completed. This case has been inactivated with a disposition of No Violation. Evidence submitted was reviewed by a licensed chiropractor serving as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Chiropractic Board of our department. Thank you for your interest in these matters of mutual concern.

In 2002, however, Odeh ran a series of newspaper ads that got him into trouble. The first listed himself and 28 other health-care providers and asked readers to vote for the best doctor. The next ad reported that he had won the vote. Subsequent ads stated that he had been voted "Best Doctor." (The board noted that (a) the other pracitioners were not notified about the contest, (b) Odeh urged all of his patients to vote, and (c) Odeh had sole possession of the ballots, and (d) the ads that mentioned the outcome did not disclose that Odeh had engineered the whole process.) In 2003, he claimed during his weekly radio program that he could cure diabetes and endometriosis. deh was also tardy in renewing his license.

In 2006, the Hawaii's Board of Chiropractic Examiners concluded that Odeh had practiced illegally from January through July 2002 and had engaged in misleading advertising in 2002 and 2003. The board fined him $1,000 and suspended his license for three years [2].

 

Odeh has operated an "eBay Store" since 2004. On December 31, 2006, his welcoming page [3] stated:

World's Best Natural Cures.
The Cures to Many of the Today's Ilnesses and Diseases are Out There! Our products are the BEST and most Safe remedies in the World! Most of what we sell are extremely difficult or near impossible to find. We travel throughout the world to find the best and make it available to all right here!

Since March 2006 he has offered pills for various diseases, anti-aging pills, penis enlargement pills, a breast-enlargement cream, pillows, magnetic insoles and many other items. The product pictured below has been promoted this way:

Chinese Angina, Chest Pain, Heart Pills.
Quick acting heart pain reliever.
SUXIAO JIUXIN WAN
Helps Calm down and relieve chest and heart pain, improves microcirculation, reduces resistance of peripheral blood vessels, relieve the burden of the heart, improves ischemia of the myocardium. A small does can have a prompt curative effect. . . .
Helps promote the flow of Qi and blood circulation, removing stasis, relieving pain in the heart, increasing blood flow volume of coronary arteries and relieving angina pain. Can help to treat coronary heart disease and angina pectoris caused bt stagnation of Qi and blood stasis.

 

The claims for this product and several others violate federal drug laws.

References

  1. Odeh F. World's Best Natural Cures. eBay Store Web site, accessed Dec 31, 2006.
  2. Board's final order. In the matter of the chiropractic license of Farris I. Odeh, D.C. CHI-2002-5-l, CHI-2003-1-L, January 26, 2006.
  3. Chinese angina, chest pain, heart pills. eBay Web site, accessed Dec 31, 2006.

This article was revised on January 2, 2007.