Adverse Tissue Reaction

Migration of Implanted Transponder

Compromised Information Security

Failure of Implanted Transponder

Failure of Inserter

Failure of Electronic Scanner

Electromagnetic Interference

Electrical Hazards

Magnetic Resonance (MRI) Imaging Incompatibility

Needle Stick

(actual screen capture from VeriChip reseller website)


Think it's completely safe to inject an RFID transponder into the flesh of an elderly loved one?

Think again.

Although the FDA approved the VeriChip implant as a medical device in October of 2004, their approval does not mean the device is completely safe. We have obtained an FDA letter that outlines a number of potential health risks associated with the device.

Among the potential problems the FDA identifies are: "adverse tissue reaction," "migration of the implanted transponder," "failure of implanted transponder," "electrical hazards" and "magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] incompatibilty." Not to mention the nasty needle stick from the "inserter" used to inject it. (The FDA lists "failure of inserter" -- a bloody possiblity we'd rather not contemplate -- among the risks.)

To read the FDA's letter for yourself, download the PDF and refer to Page 3, Paragraph 2.


Of the numerous risks listed, MRI incompatibility is perhaps the most serious. An MRI machine uses powerful magnetic fields coupled with pulsed radio frequency (RF) fields. According to the FDA's Primer on Medical Device Interactions with Magnetic Resonance Imaging Systems, "electrical currents may be induced in conductive metal implants" that can cause "potentially severe patient burns."

Presumably, VeriChip-MRI incompatibility means that doctors will be unable to order this potentially life-saving diagnostic procedure for patients with VeriChip implants, unless the patient undergoes a surgical procedure to remove the VeriChip first.

The VeriChip's problems don't stop there, says RFID experts Dr. Katherine Albrecht and Liz McIntyre. McIntyre, who is also a former bank examiner and financial writer, has carefully analyzed the company's SEC registration statement and associated chipping information and discovered serious flaws. It turns out the company's own literature indicates that chipped patients cannot undergo an MRI if they're unconscious. What's more, the company admits that critical medical information linked to the chip could be unavailable in a real emergency.

The instructions provided to medical personnel warn that chipped patients should not undergo an MRI unless they are fully alert and able to communicate any "unusual sensations or problems," like movement or heating of the implant. This conflicts with the company's efforts to promote the device to people who cannot speak for themselves, such as Alzheimer's patients, those with dementia, the mentally disabled, and people who are concerned about entering an emergency room unconscious.

Ironically, chipped patients may have to wear a Medic Alert bracelet or bear some obvious marking so they aren't mistakenly put in an MRI machine.


Patients may also need a MedicAlert bracelet as a backup in case the VeriChip database containing their critical medical information is unavailable. The fine print on the back of the VeriChip Patient Registration Form warns implantees that "the Company does not warrant...that the website will be available at any particular time," and physicians are told the product might not function in places where there are ambient radio transmissions--like ambulances.

By signing the chipping agreement, the patient agrees not to hold VeriChip Corporation liable for any damages from any cause whatsoever, even if those damages stem from the company's breach of contract or negligence.

In addition, patients are required to waive any claims related to the product's "merchantability and fitness." The waiver paragraph as it appears on the form is reprinted below:

"Patient...is fully aware of any risks, complications, risks of loss, damage of any nature, and injury that may be associated with this registration. Patient waives all claims and releases any liability arising from this registration and acknowledges that no warranties of any kind have been made or will be made with respect to this registration. ALL WARRANTIES, WHETHER EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, HOWEVER ARISING, WHETHER BY OPERATION OF LAW OR OTHERWISE, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MECHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE EXCLUDED AND WAIVED. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE COMPANY BE LIABLE TO PATIENT FOR ANY INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST INCOME OR SAVINGS) ARISING FROM ANY CAUSE WHATSOEVER, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THEIR POSSIBILITY, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH DAMAGES ARE SOUGHT BASED ON BREACH OF CONTRACT, NEGLIGENCE, OR ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY." [Emphasis in the original.]

That's quite a lot of potential harm for something supposedly designed to help patients.


If you're looking for a secure, non-invasive way to alert medical professionals to the health history and identity of a loved one, we recommend the Medic Alert bracelet as a safe alternative to the VeriChip. Given MedicAlert's 50+ year track record, emergency health providers, as well as police and safety officials, know to look for it. It costs far less than the VeriChip and has none of the serious health risks associated with implanted microchips.

MedicAlert recently partnered with the Alzheimer's Foundation of America to offer a special MedicAlert program designed specifically for Alzheimer's patients. MedicAlert's website explains that:

MedicAlert and the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) have formed a strategic alliance to assist individuals with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias in emergency situations, including promoting a MedicAlert identification bracelet with a color coded symbol.

The special teal-colored MedicAlert identification bracelet is the color of Alzheimer's disease and will denote that an individual has the brain disorder. In case of an emergency, the emblem alerts medical professionals or public safety officers to call the MedicAlert 24-hour Emergency Response Center to receive identification and further medical information of the individual.

A MedicAlert membership is critical for individuals with Alzheimer's disease since they may wander off and be unable to express who they are or where they live. MedicAlert will speak for them if they are unable to speak for themselves. -Source: MedicAlert website http://www.medicalert.com/AFA/

If you're looking for a secure, non-invasive way to alert medical professionals to your health history, we recommend the MedicAlert bracelet as a safe alternative to the VeriChip. Given the MedicAlert's 50+ year track record, all emergency health providers know to look for it. It costs far less and has none of the serious health risks associated with an implanted computer chip.

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