is one of the oldest forms of convincing people to open their pocketbooks for
a worthless product. It is the combination of fraud, hype, and wasteful spending.
The people who sell these products (formerly known as “snake oil”
salesmen) are well aware of the public’s weaknesses. Many of these products
are related to healing, health, youthfulness, fitness, and beauty. Quacks also
target people with arthritis and cancer. It is sad but true, that people who
are desperate are often willing to give their money to quacks.
Fitness and weight loss is definitely an obsession in America. Even those who are obese, (1/3 of all adults), still want that firm and youthful body. Quacks offer them something wonderful - a painless way to acquire the benefits of exercise without actually exercising! There is a wide variety of “body-toning” electric muscle stimulators on the market and none of them actually work.
Magical anti-aging potions are common fraudulent products. They claim to mysteriously reverse the aging process; firm up wrinkled skin, and even prevent baldness. These ads, which are quite convincing to the public, include realistic, before and after pictures. Quacks play with human foolishness to make a living.
Arthritis sufferers are also vulnerable targets, and over 30 million Americans suffer from this disease. Since the symptoms of arthritis seem to come and go, many people believe that the phony remedy is healing them. Consumers spend an average of $2 billion on the remedies, but there is no medical cure for arthritis. Most of these false drugs include ingredients such as snake venom, lemon juice, mild and harmful steroids.
Some of the most compassionless of all fraudulent products on the market are the ones that purport to cure cancer. Cancer patients, who are often very sick and desperate for relief, may spend thousands of dollars on pseudo treatments. Quack cancer centers are often built just outside our borders so that they are beyond the reach of U.S. authorities, but easily accessible to citizens. It is important to remember there is no conspiracy within the U.S. medical community to withhold legitimate medical treatment.
It is a
common misconception that advertising is screened by government agencies and
therefore all the health claims we read in ads must be true. The fact is that
advertisers can publish just about anything they please because no federal,
state, or local government agencies verify the claims before they are printed.
Prescription drugs and medical devices must be pre-approved by the FDA, but
quacks are clever enough to market substances that don’t require this
approval. Law enforcement is only permitted to take action after the pseudo
claims have been displayed in public and there have been complaints filed
with the appropriate agencies.