Patient advocacy

I’m preparing another free document and was perusing my files. I came upon a great quote from a former FDA commissioner:

“The thing that bugs me is that the people think the FDA is protecting them. It isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it’s doing are as different as night and day.” Dr. Herbert Ley, Former FDA Commissioner.

In essence the FDA struggles to do its job, but in reality it cannot … and with budget cuts this is going to get worse. Politically both the Left and the Right diminished this department in scope and effectiveness. I know first-hand that those so-called “medical studies of new products” are largely fake. (I can elaborate on this if you wish.)

I know that Hairtell is a terrific place for potential clients of hair removal to begin to sift through all the “crap” to find a solution that will benefit them. Clients are lucky to at least have this site. Bravo to all of you!

But, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had a “Ralph Nader of hair removal?” Ideally, this would be a person not directly involved in the business of hair removal: somebody not trying to attract more customers and somebody truly neutral and ONLY looking after the interests of clients.

The manufacturers cannot, the associations do not, and the therapists cannot either. Being involved in the business (taking money), by its very nature, makes one’s opinion questionable.

I’m thinking somebody like Fino Gior, Terri Petricca., Harvey Grove, or Jim Schuster … or, perhaps, a former patient that has “been through it all” and has a solid scientific background (Brenton?).

Prospective patients have too many (marginal) choices and not enough actual data. Clients need information that can be verified … not just opinion!

Over the years, the rip-offs that clients endure has not become better … it’s much worse! I know all of us have the common experience of patients finally coming to us after having spent scandalous amounts of money on worthless products and therapies. (In a few cases, this was so extreme that I decided to do the patient for free.)

Ralph Nader … where are you?

Great information Michael, thank you for this post.

I’m sure it is no different in other countries. In Canada anyone can advertise permanent hair removal with no consequences. I have inquired with the Competition Bureau and they advised me that in order to have this changed a complaint would have to be filed , they also advised that one or even several complaints would not trigger an investigation. In that pursuit I broached the subject at one of my association meetings (FCEA Ontario Chapter) and was greeted with very odd responses, there was some concern that the government would demand that we prove that electrolysis is permanent (which wouldn’t be difficult I’m sure) and that it would open a can of worms. Needless to say I’m on my own on this one and I have been working on a letter to send to the Competition Bureau in the hopes that it will trigger an investigation and ultimately a change. I only wish that we as electrologists in Canada had the ability to be the only ones to be able to advertise permanent hair removal, we are in the dark ages here.

The thing is that most governmental agencies SCREW IT UP! While I do support licensing for electrologists, my support is very weak. (The Dutch model is perfect, by the way.)

I know that a “government investigation” would involve the usual suspects (those with lots of $$$) and the study would be ridiculous. Guess what? Doctors that are paid for “studies” CHEAT! Imagine that? Oh yes they do!

The BIG change might take place when the associations stop “believing in the government” to take care of all their needs and complaints. We (the associations) can do this ourselves, but usually fear steps in and stops all forward efforts (as you have discovered). Associations need to stop KVETCHING and get to work! Nobody is going to do this for you (us) and they really should not either.

The only truth of the matter right now is that the client himself/herself must learn to ask the right questions, DEMAND accuracy in predicting treatment outcome … and then hold “them” to it. Patient advocacy will never come from the government … we need a leader and lots of customers that can tell their story in a forum … well, LIKE THIS ONE!

Once “standards” are actually created, the government might step in … but I would still not trust their ability to not SCREW IT UP!

(Read that FDA statement again … it’s the truth!)

[size:14pt]T[/size]hing is, even with asking the right questions, one never knows the quality until months down the road. It’s just so sad to see these people pay good money, and hard earned money at that, to quack LHR clinics and / or Electrologists that have no real skill.

[size:14pt]G[/size]oing by recommendations and testimony, to me, can be weighed most heavily when making a decision.

[size:14pt]P[/size]ersonally? I think vision plays a huge role, a massive role, in an electrologists skills. I think many start out younger when their vision is great and they can get by with those lens-on-a-stick type loupes. As time goes by, that’s all they’re used to, so the vision degrades, and they don’t compensate by upgrading their loupes. C’mon, we all know vision degrades. One has to accomodate this in their life and their work. All of my ‘main’ electrologists here in San Diego still used antiquated 2.5x loupe (lens-on-a-stick) types (there’s a name for them, after some astronomer I believe). After trying my loupes, they upgraded.

[size:14pt]I[/size]t’s just that comfort zone thing, its like a flaw in the profession of sorts. A lot of it is that many electrologists work in isolation, sure they go to conferences/trade shows, but generally, most of the year they are just on their own. They really don’t have the constant peers around them urging upgrading or to question themselves.

[size:14pt]I[/size] know first hand, directly, that one of my electrologist’s insertions got alot more smooth and less noticeable once she spent some money on better loupes.

[size:14pt]I[/size]t’s unfortunate. Possibly some electrologists think their skills are keeping steady, when, in fact, their insertions and accuracy is steadily deteriorating. I know for a fact that when I try insertions without first removing my contact lenses (with loupes), I would bet dollars to donuts that my insertions were dead-on. In truth, they just aren’t. And that becomes apparent when I go to tweeze out the hair. Reality confronts. I take out my contact lenses, put back on my loupes, viola, beautiful insertions again.

[size:14pt]S[/size]ometimes it’s just tough facing that one’s vision needs greater supplement, and many aging electrologists just don’t want to face this.

[size:14pt]A[/size] while back somebody asked, who do you choose? An electrologist with newer equipment, or one with older equipment. I still very much stand by what I answered: The one with a modern, accurate machine and excellent eyewear will get my business every time. Better vision, better insertions, better kill rate.

Just my two cents

btw: Jim Schuster? Ummm… you know… he’s a great guy, -if you can stay awake that long! Hey wait! for Washington D.C.? Umm… sign him up? :)[/color]