Company lobbies Washington state chiropractors
An executive at a Utah energy-device company gave false information to Washington state regulators this year while trying to get a product...
Seattle Times staff reporters
An executive at a Utah energy-device company gave false information to Washington state regulators this year while trying to get a product approved for use by chiropractors.
BioMeridian President Jacob Carter asked the state Chiropractic Quality Assurance Commission to approve the Vantage, a desktop device that he said could detect and treat "imbalances" in the heart, lungs and other organs.
He told board members in May that the Vantage was being studied in a clinical trial at prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
But Johns Hopkins is not conducting a study, The Seattle Times has learned.
Carter also assured board members that numerous research studies supported the technology used by the Vantage, which is registered as a biofeedback machine with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
But there are no studies validating the Vantage as a diagnostic tool, according to National Institutes of Health databases.
In fact, the company is prohibited from making claims or suggesting that the Vantage can diagnose medical problems, according to FDA regulations. It can only be used as a tool for stress relief.
BioMeridian officials report that they have sold 3,000 devices worldwide and that they have made no claims it can diagnose ailments.
But in a promotional video, Carter says the Vantage "quickly and accurately assesses your patient's health." And in its written materials, BioMeridian says practitioners can boost office revenues by $100,000 a year by using the Vantage to detect any imbalances and selling supplements to correct them.
At the meeting with the state chiropractic board, Carter handed out copies of a 50-page report about the Vantage, then made a 20-minute pitch. Afterward, he took back the copies, saying they contained trade secrets.
A Times reporter at the public meeting asked for the document and was denied. But an assistant state attorney general said the report was a public record because it had been given to state officials, and ordered its release.
The document repeated the false claims.
The case highlights how state regulatory board members are increasingly pressured to validate new therapies, but lack the time and scientific expertise to evaluate claims.
Washington's chiropractors board has approved about 100 devices and procedures for chiropractors, sometimes after little study. Members are appointed by the governor and serve without pay.
The Times found that makers of unproven energy-medicine devices have tried to get licensing boards in more than a dozen states to approve them for use.
The chairman of BioMeridian, James Solomon, in a letter to The Times, acknowledged that the company's presentation to the state included "inaccurate and inappropriately disclosed" information. He said the mistakes were inadvertent.
He said BioMeridian is no longer trying to get the state board to approve the Vantage.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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