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Bio Health Centers Faces New Suit : New York Accuses Blood-Testing Lab of Consumer Fraud

March 07, 1985|CARLA LAZZARESCHI | Times Staff Writer

New York officials have moved to block an Orange County blood-testing laboratory from soliciting business in that state, claiming the mail-order clinic, which failed to distinguish a cow's blood sample from a human's, is a consumer fraud.

The suit filed Wednesday by Atty. Gen. Robert Abrams makes New York the second state to attempt to force Bio Health Centers, which has offices in Huntington Beach and Costa Mesa, out of business. In December, the California attorney general's office charged the company with false advertising, practicing medicine without a license and unfair business practices.

New York officials obtained a temporary restraining order last week preventing the company from soliciting business in the state until a final court ruling is made.

Hearing Set Friday

A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Friday. In California, prosecutors are awaiting a court date for their request that Bio Health be fined $1 million and prevented from promoting its services.

According to the officials, Bio Health claims its laboratory can analyze a blood sample for food allergies that could be at the root of a wide range of problems, including headaches, depression and arthritis.

The object of the $350 test, the promoters claim, is to avoid foods to which the blood shows a sensitivity.

During the New York investigation, in which the federal Food and Drug Administration participated, Bio Health was sent a sample of cow's blood with the notation that it came from an "overweight, tired, irritable and constipated" vegetarian.

The Bio Health analysis of the blood, the attorney general's office said, never questioned the origin of the sample and claimed that the blood's donor was allergic to 22 substances, including cow's milk, cottage cheese and yogurt.

David Diem, general manager of Bio Health Centers, said the dispute over the blood analysis, formally known as "Cytotoxic III" testing, is just part of the larger debate between proponents of "traditional medicine and nutritional health treatment."

"It's a political issue," Diem claimed. "Thousands of people have very successfully applied the nutritional principles derived from the test. The point is to avoid foods where sensitivity is shown."

However, California authorities claim that the blood testing and nutritional analysis has yet to be proven by medical and scientific research. The state Board of Medical Quality Assurance, one of the plaintiffs in the California suit, claims that the analysis consists of practicing medicine.

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