Thursday, February 24, 2005

How to recognize health fraud

You can protect yourself by learning some of their techniques, simply take a look at how these products are promoted.

Good example:

One Product Does It All
Be suspicious of products that claim to cure a wide range of unrelated diseases--particularly serious diseases, such as cancer and diabetes. No product can treat every disease and condition, and for many serious diseases, there are no cures, only therapies to help manage them. Cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and other serious diseases are big draws because people with these diseases are often desperate for a cure and willing to try just about anything.

Personal Testimonials
Personal testimonies can tip you off to health fraud because they are difficult to prove. Often testimonials are personal case histories that have been passed on from person to person. Or, the testimony can be completely made up.

Quick Fixes
Be wary of talk that suggests a product can bring quick relief or provide a quick cure, especially if the disease or condition is serious. Even with proven treatments, few diseases can be treated quickly. Note also that the words "in days" can really refer to any length of time. Fraud promoters like to use ambiguous language like this to make it easier to finagle their way out of any legal action that may result.

Don't be fooled by the term "natural." It's often used in health fraud as an attention-grabber; it suggests a product is safer than conventional treatments. But the term doesn't necessarily equate to safety because some plants (example, poisonous mushrooms) can kill when ingested.

Time-Tested or New-Found Treatment
Claims of an "innovation," "miracle cure," "exclusive product," or "new discovery" or "magical" are highly suspect. If a product was a cure for a serious disease, it would be widely reported in the media and regularly prescribed by health professionals--not hidden in an obscure magazine or newspaper ad, late-night television show, or Website promotion, where the marketers are of unknown, questionable or nonscientific backgrounds.

Satisfaction Guaranteed
Good luck getting your money back. Marketers of fraudulent products rarely stay in the same place for long. Because customers won't be able to find them, the marketers can afford to be generous with their guarantees.
Promises of Easy Weight Loss.

Finally, rapid weight loss without dieting

For most people, there is only one way to lose weight: Eat less food and increase activity.

Paranoid Accusations

Claims that suggest that health-care providers and legitimate manufacturers are in cahoots with each other, promoting only the drug companies and medical device manufacturers products for financial gain. The claims also suggest that the medical profession and legitimate drug and device makers strive to suppress unorthodox products because they threaten their financial standing.

Most people who are taken in by health fraud will grasp at anything, they're not going to do the research. They're looking for a miracle.

Further information: FDA Homepage

See who links to your web site.