Attorney General Hardy Myers today filed a settlement agreement with a West Linn man that operated as a "non-traditional natural medicine practitioner," using a method of treatment supposedly effective against all maladies from Downs Syndrome to orthodontic problems. Named in an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance filed today in Marion County Circuit Court is Oleg Mishustin, who immigrated from Russia two years ago.
"Oregonians have the choice of using conventional and non-traditional medical techniques to treat illness," Myers said. "In searching for the most effective medical treatment in both areas, consumers must be protected from unlicensed practitioners with few skills and little education." Department of Justice investigators, utilizing reports from the Board of Naturopathic Physicians and the compliance section of the state Worker's Compensation Division, confirmed that Mishustin was treating "patients" with techniques used by regulated professionals. Lacking formal training and licensure, Mishustin practiced in the fields of physical and massage therapy and chiropractic and naturopathic medicine. Mishustin claimed his method of treatment was effective against all illnesses.
Mishustin's "medical" training is limited to a few classes at an institute in Moscow that teaches, among other things, para-psychology and faith healing. The defendant's formal education was in a soviet educational institute as an accordion player.
The defendant's "patients" generally spoke Russian and included children with Cerebral Palsy and "clients" with head injuries.
Under the terms of the Assurance, which admits no law violation, Mishustin agrees not to hold himself out as a medical practitioner of any kind, not to promote himself as qualified to treat illness or disabilities, and not to engage in any activity that requires a license unless he actually has one. A $25,000 payment to the consumer protection and education fund is suspended based on his continued compliance with the agreement.
"Billions of dollars are wasted on unproven health care products and unlawfully marketed treatments." Myers said. "Consumers with serious medical problems may be wasting valuable time before they seek proper treatment."
Attorney General Myers suggests ways to spot false claims about health products or treatments:
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If the products or treatments claim to be "quick and effective cure-alls' for a wide range of ailments.
If the promoters or practitioners use key words, such as scientific breakthrough, miraculous cure, exclusive product, secret ingredient or ancient remedy.
If the promoter or practitioner claim the medical profession or research scientists have conspired to suppress the product or treatment.
If the promoter or practitioner claim amazing results through undocumented case histories.
If a product is advertised as available from only one source.
Consumers seeking a medical practitioner to help with an illness or injury should begin by calling the state Employment Department's Occupational Information Committee at 1-800-237-3710, extension 8-6059, to learn what health occupations require licensing. The next step is to contact the appropriate regulating board or agency to make sure that any candidates are properly licensed or registered.
Consumers may check on complaints by calling the Attorney General's consumer hotline at (503) 378-4320 (Salem area only), (503) 229-5576 (Portland area only) or toll-free at 1-877-877-9392. General consumer information is online at www.doj.state.or.us.
Jan Margosian, (503) 947-4333 (media line only) firstname.lastname@example.org