A review of the advertising and claims for Miralex about the treatment of psoriasis.

Grade F

Miralex Health Care, Inc. makes Miralex cream and shampoo. Both have no listed ingredients, either on the Web site or on the packaging. The claim is made that the products are “natural,” but that does not equal “safe.” Since no ingredient list is available, it’s impossible to confirm any claims the company makes. Is it really safe? Is it really even natural?

The person who is credited with founding Miralex is also a complete mystery. We are told he’s a dermatologist with over thrity years of research experience, but that’s all. Not even the company information at the site sheds any light on this person’s identity, so it’s impossible to know, or even guess, as to whether he truly has any dermatology background at all, or if he’s even a doctor. In fact, I’m only guessing that this person is a “he,” but at least one Newsgroup poster claims so (and also seems to blindly trust his every word about his product).

Speaking of the newsgroup, questions about Miralex began showing up there in Febuary of 1998, and so far no answers have been forthcoming, at all. We’ve met at least one shill for the company, and the person mentioned above (who claims to have used Miralex for three or four years without ill effects) and at least one unsatisfied customer, who found no relief at all.

Claims like “For the Relief of Inflammation, Itching and Scaling as in Seborrhea and Psoriasis” (from the shampoo bottle) are, in my mind, actual claims that Miralex is able to treat a disease. The laws of both Canada and the U.S. (I believe the company is in Canada, but they sometimes use a U.S. PO Box address) both state that if you make treatment claims, then you’re selling a drug. As a drug, the company should be forced to reveal the ingredients and back up the claims that it can provide relief with solid scientific evidence. Even one testimonial on the site refers to Miralex as “medicine.”

The only evidence we’re given that Miralex does anything is in the form of testimonials. In fact, the site provides these as proof of efficacy. They are no such thing, as customers who get a good response may very well be undergoing a placebo effect or regression, and so are highly susceptible to the fallacy of post hoc reasoning. Of course, there’s always the chance that the testimonials are faked, as well, and some of them sure sound that way. And yes, there is a chance that Miralex works as advertised, but until we see the results of decent clinical testing, there’s little reason to believe so.

We can speculate on the ingredients forever, so I’d rather not. However, it should be obvious to everyone that you should never apply unknown drugs to your skin. What reason does anyone have for trusting this incredibly secretive company? Especially since one needs to trust the company to the tune of $96 (U.S.) for a four-ounce tub of the cream?

December 30, 1999, Update: On December 5, 1999, Neil Carson wrote a short post on the Newsgroup about Miralex and a brand-new warningBroken Link from Health Canada that Miralex contains clobetasol propionate, a super-potent steroid. Unfortunately, I somehow missed this post, and learned about the warning from a post by Kevin O’Brien on December 20, 1999. Thanks to both of you.

Some people have, indeed, been sent recall notices, but Miralex’s claims of an “accidental” contamination of their product with clobetasol are almost too fantastic to believe. Especially when, instead of a warning and a recall notice at their site, it is now “under reconstruction” to serve us better. The short story appears to be that they got caught adding a prescription drug to an over-the-counter cream, and are now trying to spin-doctor their way out of the mess they made for themselves. The similarities between this event and the whole Skin Cap mess are astonishing.

This only emphasizes what I originally wrote, above, about Miralex. Don’t put stuff on your skin when you don’t know what’s in it. And don’t trust companies which are obviously trying to hide information you need to know in order to make an informed decision.

December 22, 2000, Update: The workings of a class-action lawsuit against Miralex have begun.

May 2, 2009, Update: The miralex.com site has been wiped clean.