Dylan Levesque, D.C. Disciplined Twice
for Improper Marketing
Stephen Barrett, M.D.
Dylan D. Lévesque, D.C., who practices in Abington, Virginia, has been disciplined twice for improper advertising.
- In 2001, the Virginia Board of Medicine, which regulates chiropractors in addition to medical doctors, reprimanded Lévesque for making unspportable claims that Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique (N.A.E.T.) could provide lasting relief for migraine headaches, asthma, attention deficit disorder, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, skin problems, chemical sensitivities, joint aches and pains, addictions (smoking and others), chronic fatigue, depression, and skin problems, (rashes, hives). The board described N.A.E.T. as " a system of muscle-response testing for the diagnosis and treatment of allergies, for which there exists no research of scientific evidence that supports its efficacy."
- In 2007, the board ordered Lévesque to"refrain from advertising in any manner that is false, deceptive, or misleading, or contains any unsubstantiated claim of superiority." The consent order (shown below) states that Levesque distributed brochures offering "the ultimate program or fibromyalgia sufferers" and promising to permanently relieve carpel tunnel (wrist) pain in 10-15 minutes. The fibromyalgia treatment involved N.A.E.T. The board placed Lévesque on indefinite probation, assessed a $3,000 penalty, and ordered him to withdraw his then-current advertising and submit a monthly report to the board that included copies of his marketing materials.
Levesque's probation was terminated in 2009.
BEFORE THE BOARD OF MEDICINE
IN RE: DYLAN DANIEL LÉVESQUE, D.C.
License No.: 0104-001589
By letter dated October 15, 2007, the Virginia Board of Medicine ("Board") noticed Dr. Levesque for an informal conference to inquire into allegations that he may have violated certain laws and regulations governing the practice of chiropractic in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In lieu of proceeding to an informal conference, the Board and Dr. Levesque, as evidenced by their signatures affixed below, agree to enter into this Consent Order affecting the license of Dr. Levesque to practice chiropractic in Virginia.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
The Board adopts the following findings of fact and conclusions of law in this matter:
1. Dylan D. Levesque, D.C. was issued license number 0104-001589 by the Board to practice chiropractic in the Commonwealth of Virginia on April 1, 1996. Said license is currently active and will expire on August 31,2008, unless renewed or otherwise restricted.
2. Dr. Levesque violated Sections 54.1-2915.A(1), (12), (15) , (16), and (18) of the Code, and 18 VAC 85-20-30.E of the Board's General Regulations Governing the Practice of Chiropractic, in that:
a. In or about October 2004 through April 2005, Dr. Levesque published, or caused to be published, advertisements in several newspapers directing individuals to contact him for literature regarding fibromyalgia. This advertisement provided the following information:
"FREE Fibromyalgia Evaluation! Drugless And Non-Surgical Approach! Discover True Cause of your Fibromyalgia! ... This Coupon Is Good For A 45 Minute Fibromyalgia Severity Evaluation Consultation .... FREE Nervoscope Thermographic Spinal Scan!"
In this advertisement, Dr. Levesque used the designation "Dr." without clarifying that he is a doctor of chiropractic.
b. The literature on fibromyalgia provided to individuals who responded to the foregoing advertisement contained statements which were false, misleading or deceptive and/ or contained claims of superiority. Specifically, this literature, entitled "The Amazing Truth Revealed - How 1000's Of Fibromyalgia Sufferers are Finally Melting Away Their Aches, Pains & Chronic Fatigue Without Drugs or Surgery ... And How YOU Can Too", advertises treatment for fibromyalgia utilizing Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique ("N.A.E.T."), a technique which is beyond the scope of for chiropractic, does not conform with acceptable standards of chiropractic care, and is unsupported by any reasonable scientific or medical research or data. Further, this literature contains the following false, deceptive or misleading statements and/or claims of superiority, none of which Dr. Levesque was able to substantiate with objective data or studies:
i. "If you're sick and tired of listening to so called' experts' who take your money and leave you no better and with less hope .... You see, a large part of my practice is devoted just to fibromyalgia. Devoted to cases other doctors have had no success with. Devoted to cases other doctors have given up on. Devoted to cases other doctors have simply turned their backs on and thrown out in the trash. Devoted to cases just like yours .... And What I've Discovered Is Like The 'Fountain of Youth' for Fibromyalgia Suffers!... Most doctors I know have just given up on fibromyalgia completely, throwing their hands in the air telling their patients it's all in their heads."
ii, "The bottom line was ... I could not find anyone who was REALLY helping fibromyalgia sufferers. Sure they did a lot of elaborate, expensive tests (Very expensive!) .. They used a lot of fancy words. But when all was said and done, what could they do for you? NOTHING! Then they had the nerve to send you an outrageous bill even Donald Trump would have trouble paying! ... That's how I found out about an amazing system created by a former fibromyalgia/ chronic fatigue sufferer practicing in Encinitas, California .... no other doctors have even heard about, much less are doing."
iii. "Almost overnight, you can start relieving aches, pains and chronic fatigue. Your life can go from sheer hell to breathtaking enjoyment in a matter of weeks.... This system can bring you from the peak of misery to a life of breathtaking enjoyment ... "
iv. "There's a lot of nonsense out there. Too many "experts" who really don't understand what you are going through. Doctors ready to put you on some new trial, toxic drug. Snake oil salesmen ready to profit from your fear. Jokers who don't know what they are doing. That's why I put together the "ultimate" program for fibromyalgia suffers."
v. "A lot of "experts" praying [sic] on your misery. Filling you with false hope. Or even worse, telling you there is NO HOPE. That's why I've written this report. This is REAL hope from someone who understands .... I don't care if you've been to 100's of other doctors. Or if you've been to other chiropractors.... I honestly got lucky when I put this program together and found the "missing link" that gets such miraculous results for so many."
vi. "Let me be your guide. I know what you're going through. When I started asking other doctors about fibromyalgia they told me, 'Aaah, they're all just hypochondriacs ... there's nothing wrong with them ... what they need is a good shrink!' Well, I know better. And I promise, I won't let you down."
vii. "It's taken me months to write this report", and similar statements to that effect, lead the reader to believe that the advertisement is Dr. Levesque's own personal message to the public regarding his individual experience and practice. In fact, it is an advertising template that Dr. Levesque purchased.
viii. "Please take the time to read through the numerous patient testimonials I have included with this report. You will see that many of my patients went to many other doctors and tried many different treatments before they came to me and were finally able to get relief." By Dr. Levesque's own admission, there were no such testimonials included with the report.
c. In or about October 2005 through January 2006, Dr. Levesque published, or caused to be published, advertisements in several newspapers directing individuals to access his website for information regarding carpal tunnel syndrome. This advertisement stated:
"Suffering From Carpal Tunnel Pain? FREE REPORT Reveals The Secret to Eliminate Carpal Tunnel Pain Fast ... Confidential Report Reveals The Hidden Truth About How You Can Quickly Get Rid of Wrist Pain ... Even If You've Tried Everything Before."
The information on carpal tunnel syndrome provided on the foregoing website, entitled "FREE Report Exposes The Shocking Truth About Eliminating Carpal Tunnel Syndrome FAST ... (Plus Why Most Doctors Wish You Never Found This Web Site!)", contained statements which were false, misleading or deceptive and contained claims of superiority, none of which Dr. Levesque was able to substantiate with objective data or studies. Specifically, the following are stated:
i. "NEW! Just Released: Local Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Expert Exposes The Shocking Truth About Relieving Wrist Pain .... [Y]ou need to spend a few minutes with a wrist pain and Carpal Tunnel pain specialist. That's exactly what we do here at Blue Ridge Family Chiropractic." However, by Dr. Levesque's own admission, he is not a carpal tunnel syndrome or wrist pain expert or specialist.
ii. "In The Next 4 Minutes, You're Gonna Discover Exactly How To Eliminate Your Wrist Pain Once And For All. Yes, You'll Feel Better Fast, Without Having to Get Surgery, Wear The Splints, Or Take Dangerous Drugs!"
iii. "I decided to write this report because my office is flooded with people who are suffering from Carpal Tunnel Syndrome." By Dr. Levesque's own admission, his office is not flooded with carpal tunnel syndrome sufferers. Further, Dr. Levesque did not write the report, but instead purchased it.
iv. "Here's The Grave Mistake That 90% of All Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Victims Make.... I ask "What took you so long, what prevented you from coming in sooner?" Nine out of ten times these helpless almost hopeless patients reply, "My family doctor told me to "______. Now, you can fill in the blanks above with:
- take medication
- wear these splints
- get a cortisone shot
- have surgery
- do these exercises
the list goes on..... Why didn't these things work to cure their Carpal Tunnel aches and pains? Why do most people GET WORSE when they do these things? Why don't these things work for thousands of misled people every day? Simple. The reason is: These are temporary solutions. They address the symptom not the problem."
v. "Then why are all these fallacies and old wives tales circulating so fast and being believed by the public? Who's spreading them? Unfortunately, most of the time it's doctors who really don't know any better. Are the doctors hiding something, and why don't they just come clean and give us the real deal answers?"
vi. "Why Most Doctors Wish You Never Knew This Tiny Little Secret.. .. However, if my family Doctor tried to fix my plumbing, I wouldn't feel he was qualified or knowledgeable about this subject. This goes exactly the same with most doctors regarding Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. They don't have a clue how to fix the problem because it's not what they were trained to do! Nothing against them, they just weren't schooled on finding the cure, ie, treating the cure of wrist pain or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome .... They don't want you to know that finding the source of the pain will cure the problem, because they are not trained to find the source. No one likes to expose their "lack of", especially when that someone is supposed to know. This results in thousands of unneeded operations and useless procedures .... "
vii. "Discover What Happens To Over 85% Of People Who Try To Treat Their Carpal Tunnel Pain With Drugs, Surgery, Or Wrist Splints! (The Horrifying Truth About What These Things Do To Carpal Tunnel Sufferers) Plain and simple, drugs and medication will make things worse for you .... They also have deadly side effects."
viii. "One woman I know was on cortisone too long, became dependent on it, and literally destroyed her bone structure. Her bones became weak and fragile and would break at the slightest impact." By Dr. Levesque's own admission, he does not have personal knowledge of such an individual.
ix. "Then we have the surgical option. Carpal Tunnel surgery is rarely successful. ... Surgery is rolling the dice, taking a wishful shortcut that rarely solves the problem permanently."
x. "A man I know had surgery just a few months ago .... [H]is surgery made things worse. Now he doesn't have any feeling in his index finger tip and still suffers from wrist pain." By Dr. Levesque's own admission, he does not have personal knowledge of such an individual.
xi. "The biggest problem with wrist splints is they are just another form of temporary relief and they cause scar tissue to develop in the wrist which can lead to bigger, long term problems." By Dr. Levesque's own admission, he does not know if this statement is true.
xii. "Give Me 10-15 Minutes And You Can Be Pain FREE, Have Your Life Back, And Avoid Any Future Pain And Suffering!"
xii. "Third, you also know that it's not the smartest thing to go to a non-wrist pain specialist (regular doctor) because he or she will probably recommend some of the not so smart things we spoke about: drugs, surgery, meds, etc. All very bad and moving in the opposite direction you need to be going."
xiv. "If You Want to Feel Better Fast And Finally Take Care of Your Wrist Pain Forever, Take This Tiny Little Step And Get Rid Of It For Good! ... Chances are, we can get you feeling better instantly within minutes of your Free Consultation!"
xv. "25 individuals that were diagnosed with Carpal Tunnel Syndrome reported significant improvements in several measures of strength, range of motion, and pain after receiving treatment you're going to get!" By Dr. Levesque's own admission, he does not have personal knowledge of these 25 individuals nor is he aware of a study publishing these results.
I, Dylan D. Levesque, D.C., by affixing my signature hereto, acknowledge that:
1. I have been advised specifically to seek the advice of counsel prior to signing this document and am represented by William G. Shields, Esquire;
2. I am fully aware that without my consent, no legal action can be taken against my license, except pursuant to the Virginia Administrative Process Act, §2.2-4000.A et.seq. of the Code of Virginia;
3. I have the following rights, among others:
a. the right to an informal conference before the Board; and
b. the right to appear in person or by counsel, or other qualified representative before the Board.
4. I waive all rights to an informal conference;
5. I neither admit nor deny the truth of the above Findings of Fact, but agree not to contest them in any subsequent Board proceeding; and
6. I consent to the following Order affecting my license to practice chiropractic in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
WHEREFORE, based on the foregoing Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, and with the consent of the licensee, it is hereby ORDERED that the license of Dylan D. Levesque, D.C., be and hereby is, placed on INDEFINITE PROBATION and subject to the following terms and conditions as follows:
1. Dr. Levesque shall pay a monetary penalty in the amount of Three Thousand Dollars ($3,000.00) to the Board. Dr. Levesque shall make minimum payments of Five Hundred Dollars ($500) in monthly installments commencing on January 1, 2008, and thereafter on the first day of each month. Nothing herein shall prevent Dr. Levesque from paying the monetary penalty in full prior to June 1, 2008.
2. Dr. Levesque will refrain from advertising in any manner that is false, deceptive, or misleading, or contains any unsubstantiated claim of superiority.
3. Dr. Levesque will immediately withdraw all of his current advertisements.
4. Dr. Levesque shall submit a report on a monthly basis with copies of all new advertising, to include but not limited to, any advertisements in any publications, brochures, pamphlets, coupons, or Internet advertisements, to the Board to ensure compliance with the Board laws and regulations and compliance with this Order. The first report shall be submitted by January 1, 2008, and submitted monthly thereafter.
5. Dr. Levesque will immediately cease to disseminate any literature to his patients or the public on Nambudripad's Allergy Elimination Technique ("N.A.E.T."), with the exception of published books.
6. Nothing herein shall prohibit Dr. Levesque from treating his patients for pain by accepted chiropractic techniques.
7. In approximately eighteen (18) months from entry of this Consent Order, a probation report shall be submitted by the Compliance Division of the Department of Health Professions to the Executive Director of the Board for his review. In the Executive Director's discretion, he may terminate Dr. Levesque's probation and restore his license to full and unrestricted status, or he may refer the matter to an administrative proceeding before a Special Conference Committee for a final determination.
8. Dr. Levesque will maintain a course of conduct in his practice of chiropractic in accordance with the regulations of the Board and the requirements of Title 54.1, Chapter 29, of the Code of Virginia and all laws of the Commonwealth.
Pursuant to Section 54.1-2400.2 of the Code, the signed original of this Consent Order shall remain in the custody of the Department of Health Professionals as a public record. The record shall remain confidential and sealed, and will not be made available for public inspection and copying upon request.
FOR THE BOARD:
William L. Harp, M.D.
Virginia Board of Medicine
This page was posted on November 26, 2011.