Natural Remedy Company Charged With ‘Making False Claims’ About AIDS Product
Federal prosecutors have filed a two-count complaint against M. Keith Ives and his business, Ives Health Company, for "allegedly making false claims" about an AIDS medicine the company marketed and for failing to obtain FDA approval for the product, Reuters reports. The complaint states that Ives Health, which sells natural and homeopathic medicines, issued a press release on Feb. 15 stating that its "T-Factor formula" was "successful in increasing T cell counts" in HIV-positive individuals. The formula, which was not approved by the FDA, was advertised as having "virtually no side effects," and the company also claimed that the product could "help increase HIV patients' life span." A Web site established to help sell the formula said the product "works by introducing highly active and effective thymus cells which trigger the chain reaction of events which cause an accelerated rate of T cell manufacture." Made from the glands and organs of calves, T-Factor formula cost $600 for an annual supply. T-Factor formula was based on "a purported scientific research program known as 'The Java Project' that was supposedly conducted by Dr. Robert Slayton-Bedeen in association with the World Health Organization" in Jakarta, Indonesia, Reuters reports. The FBI later interviewed Dr. Michael Merson, dean of Yale University's School of Public Health and former director of WHO's Global Program on AIDS from 1978 to 1995, who said that "he never heard of Slayton-Bedeen, the Java Project or the T-Factor product." He added that thymus glands, one of the product's advertised ingredients, "have never been found to be effective in treating AIDS or HIV to his knowledge" (Appleson, Reuters, 4/6). Ives "was not immediately available for comment" on the charges ( Bloomberg News/Los Angeles Times, 4/6). Both Ives and the company are charged with conspiracy, wire fraud and "defrauding the FDA," prosecutors said (Reuters, 4/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.