- Opponents of the VeriChip implant are launching a new
offensive against the controversial human microchip this week, amid reports
that VeriChip plans to put its chipping division on the auction block.
A new report titled "Microchip Implants: Answers to Frequently Asked
Questions" released today by CASPIAN Consumer Privacy reveals dirty
laundry the company would probably rather keep hidden as it seeks a buyer
for its beleaguered product.
- The 42-page report was authored by CASPIAN director Dr.
Katherine Albrecht, a Harvard-educated privacy expert and long-time critic
of the VeriChip. The highlight of the report is an eleven-page section
titled "Cancer Cover-up" that describes a systematic pattern
of lies and deception engaged by VeriChip executives in an effort to downplay
the fact that implantable microchips cause cancer in laboratory animals.
- The report reveals how news outlets like Time Magazine,
Business Week, and the RFID Journal were used as unwitting pawns in a VeriChip
scheme to spread misinformation about the cancer studies. Since research
linking the product to cancer first surfaced last year, each of these publications
has repeated misstatements from VeriChip company executives, in many cases
printing the inaccurate statements verbatim and unchallenged.
- "These were not subjective issues, they were plainly
verifiable issues of fact," Albrecht said. "We were saddened
to see the misstatements fall through the fact-checking cracks of these
respected publications. Now that VeriChip is back in the headlines, we
felt it was time to set the record straight."
- VeriChip's media efforts have done little to salvage
the company's public image or its financial performance, both of which
plummeted after research linking the implantable microchip to cancer was
widely revealed by the Associated Press in September 2007. The same company
that once predicted revenues in the "billions" earned just $3,000
from its microchip implant operations in the first quarter of 2008, as
patients shun the device that many are now calling the "cancer chip."
- Investors have also distanced themselves from the failing
company, with VeriChip's stock plummeting from a high of $10.62 last year
to just over $2.00 today.
- VeriChip's VP of business development, Jay McKeage, acknowledged
the implant division suffers from "a substantial cash burn" and
is "not sustainable on its own." As a result, he says, VeriChip
plans to "shop the VeriMed / Health Link [human implantable chip]
business around widely" in hopes that another company will take the
unpopular product off its hands.
- However, with recent blog headlines like "VeriChip
Death Watch" making the rounds, Albrecht has a hard time imagining
who, if anyone, will want to buy the business.
- "This is a company that has engaged in a consistent
pattern of making false and misleading statements," she said. "It
has lied to the public, to the media, to its shareholders, and to regulatory
agencies," she said, citing additional evidence from the report indicating
that VeriChip hid cancer evidence from the FDA when the agency reviewed
the implant's safety in 2004.
- "We laid out all the evidence in our report,"
she added. "We want to make sure no one else gets burned by VeriChip."
- ABOUT THE REPORT
- CASPIAN's new report, "Microchip Implants: Answers
to Frequently Asked Questions," is a comprehensive reference guide
to implantable microchips in animals and humans. It provides thoroughly-researched,
footnoted answers to 85 of the most commonly asked questions about the
implantable microchip, including religious, privacy, social, and health
questions. The report concludes with a list of recommendations for patients,
pet owners, and policy makers affected by the device.
- The new report is available for free download on the
group's AntiChips.com website at: <http://www.antichips.com/faq/index.html>http://www.antichips.com/faq/index.html
- While on the website, readers are encouraged to download
Dr. Albrecht's comprehensive 52-page overview of the studies, "Microchip-Induced
Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature 1990-2006,"
and to review scanned copies of the original documents.
- ABOUT CASPIAN
- CASPIAN (Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion
and Numbering) is a grass-roots consumer group fighting retail surveillance
schemes since 1999 and irresponsible RFID use since 2002. With thousands
of members in all 50 U.S. states and over 30 countries worldwide, CASPIAN
seeks to educate consumers about marketing strategies that invade their
privacy and encourage privacy-conscious shopping habits across the retail