California Medical Board, San Francisco District Attorney Sue Arizona Company for Breast Cancer Test Ads
The California Medical Board and the San Francisco district attorney on Thursday filed a joint civil suit against Arizona-based AmeriScan over allegations that the company falsely advertised the effectiveness of a breast cancer test, the Los Angeles Times reports. The suit seeks an injunction against radio and Internet advertisements for "BreastScreen" -- which costs $2,000 and uses MRI technology -- in which AmeriScan founder and Medical Director Dr. Craig Bittner promotes the test as almost "100% effective" in the detection of breast cancer and more effective than traditional mammograms. According to the AmeriScan Web site: "AmeriScan's revolutionary MRI BreastScreen is so powerful that no woman should suffer or die from this terrible disease. The MRI BreastScreen is so accurate it can help find nearly all breast cancers while they are still in an early, curable stage." Ron Joseph, executive director of the state medical board, said that "little scientific evidence" exists to indicate that MRI is more effective than a mammogram in the detection of breast cancer, the Times reports. The lawsuit "is really a matter of Bittner's spreading false information, which could lead people to make poor decisions regarding their own health," Joseph added. San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan said that he became involved in the lawsuit because the AmeriScan radio ads air throughout the Bay Area. Bittner called the ads "truthful" and said that "he was being targeted because the medical establishment is wedded" to less-expensive mammograms, which he maintains fail to detect breast cancer in a number of cases, the Times reports (Hymon, Los Angeles Times, 10/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.