Monday, September 27, 2010

Quack Watch

I came across this informational link in a discussion post in the ChronicBabe forums and found it pretty interesting:

It is a good reminder that with everything that we suffer from on a pretty consistent basis, to be on the alert for "quacks" out there who will take advantage of our relentless suffering. The quacks' promises just seem too good to be true, and if we are really suffering we may fall prey! For example, I really want to see an herbalist or nutritionist type person to help me with the supplements I take, but after viewing their info often certain red flags go off. The number one tipoff or lets says turnoff for me is if they want me to buy *their* products only. I feel that a good herbalist/naturopath(?) would focus on guiding me in the effects of the herbs/supplements, and not focus on making me purchase *their* herbs. Another turnoff is that they are usually hundreds of dollars per visit, and of course don't take insurance.

Not every alternative practitioner is a quack. There are nutritionists, herbalists, naturopaths and people that are doing their own research and honestly seeking to help people. More power to them, and I hope those folks will be able to make great strides that will eventually help develop better treatments later down the road. Unfortunately there are people out there who don't have the best interests of patients in mind and are looking to make a profit by taking advantage of people who are hurting and desperate who have had very little luck with traditional practices and are willing to do (and more importantly, pay) anything if it promises to bring some modicum of relief. It's these snake-oil salesmen that make my blood boil, and I think it's important for us to supply ourselves with the proper tools to spot these people, so that when we are at a low, miserable point in our lives when nothing seems to be working and you are at your wits' end, we will be able to tell the difference between those trying to help and those looking to take advantage.

So be careful fibros, quacks will rely highly on your emotional state, desire for relief, need for action, and try to create fear of what will happen if you don't follow their guidelines.   

I also think its a shame that the pharmaceutical and alternative medicine interests can't work together, and that doctors seem to veer first to pharmaceuticals, when in fact supplements may have the same effect! But of course supplements can be much less expensive and available, and I guess we aren't supposed to find that out.....For example - I was prescribed Limbrel for my joint pain, and through my prescription plan it was $50/month. I did a little research, and 1. Limbrel is a food medicine, meaning ITS MADE FROM HERBS!!!! 2. The SAME ingredients are found in OVER THE COUNTER Move-Free Joint supplement! (For less than $50/month of course!!!)

I think with everything that we do, taking charge and being our own health advocates, we have to be on alert for what seems reasonable, and what seems too good to be true, and share with each other the information to know the difference!



  1. I found this chapter in this book, check it out for the details!

    byDeDe Bonner, PhD

    The 10 Best Questions to Ask To Avoid Being Scammed:

    1. Who's behind this claim or alternative treatment? (do they have any medical credentials that you can verify?

    2. Are the people offering/recommending the alternative treatments also the same people who are selling them? (Will they benefit personally if you purchase theur product, not just listen to their advice.)

    3. Does this treatment offer a cure, remission or healing? (There is no cure currently for fibro)

    4. Does the person/website/product have a seal of credibility? (check and to verify seals)

    5. Is this alternative treatment offered as a "miracle" cure? (lookout for terms like 'scientific breakthrough', 'secret ingredient', 'ancient remedy.')

    6. Are any prior studies offered as scientific evidence, or are there only anecdotal stories and personal testimonies to back up the claimed benefits as an alternative treatment? (you want scientific evidence including measurable results in hard, cold numbers.)

    7. What other documentation is given to support the Web site or company's claims? (Look for more info, especially in medical journals; be wary of listings that are too old or have not been updated in over a year)

    8. Does this alternative treatment or company claim to have exclusive right to the treatments offered? (fake treatments are available from only 1 doctor, clinic or website; it doesn't make sense that there would be a monopoly on new products or treatments as good as these)

    9. Has any conventional medical organization endorsed this product or treatment? (endorsements by trusted medical science is a good sign; scams do not have this and try to say doctors are the ones trying to suppress good treatments)

    10. Is personal information or money requested up front? (avoid website/ companies/ people that won't tell you anything/everything until you sign up/pay/create an account!)

  2. AND the MAGIC QUESTION to ask to avoid being scammed:

    If a medical breakthrough really had occurred for fibromyalgia, would the news be announced first in an ad?

  3. This is a good article on the same topic, avoiding scams, from the National Fibromyalgia Association: