VeriChip Kept Quiet On Cancer Link… Yet Were Pretty Vocal On Fake FDA Approvals
from the well,-look-at-that dept
The Associated Press has a story that got plenty of attention this weekend, pointing out that a series of studies which found that VeriChip’s RFID products induced malignant tumors in animals. This information was not made public as the company continued to hype the devices for implant into humans. The article notes that the devices were approved by the FDA… but leaves out a rather revealing bit of history. VeriChip and its parent company Applied Digital have done an amazing job generating publicity for the company, but often in very questionable ways. It might help to go through some of the history.
Back in 2002, prior to getting FDA approval, there was the too good to be true story of an entire family that just couldn’t wait to get themselves chipped. The whole thing sounded sketchy from the beginning, and many suspected that the entire thing was merely created by VeriChip to get publicity. Soon afterwards, VeriChip announced that the FDA had said that implantable RFID chips were not regulated medical devices, and therefore could be used for chipping humans. Note that the announcement came from VeriChip. That’s because the FDA did not say what VeriChip claimed it said. VeriChip had asked the FDA to declare the chips unregulated devices, and the FDA simply requested more information. VeriChip, in turn, took that request for more info and claimed that the devices were unregulated, leading to a rather unhappy FDA.
A few months later, the FDA finally gave conditional support for the device, saying that VeriChip could be used, as long as it was not advertised as a “medical device.” VeriChip, of course, once again put out a press barrage claiming that it had FDA approval. And, not surprisingly, it kept advertising the chips as medical devices, leading the FDA to warn the company to knock it off. Then, the company went south of the border, and started focusing on convincing people in Mexico to get chipped for the safety of the children. See? Down in Mexico, you don’t have to worry about the pesky American FDA. Two years later, we were a bit surprised that the FDA finally did approve the device for medical purposes — but would you really want a company like that sticking stuff in your body?
Oh yeah, if that wasn’t enough, the company had borrowed a bunch of money from IBM, and when IBM tried to collect, Applied Digital sued. Yes, they sued the company who gave them money when they were unable to pay back the loan. This latest article on the cancer link plays up the fact that former FDA head Tommy Thompson later joined the board of VeriChip, but leaves out his own reluctance to have a VeriChip RFID installed in his own body. Anyone else feel safe having this company stick RFID chips under your skin?