*Produced in cooperation with the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission*
Whether they’re looking for a short cut to losing weight or a cure for a serious ailment, consumers may be spending billions of dollars a year on unproven, fraudulently marketed, often useless health-related products, devices and treatments. Why?
Because health fraud trades on false hope. It promises quick cures and easy solutions to a variety of problems, from obesity to cancer and AIDS. But consumers who fall for fraudulent “cure-all” products don’t find help or better health. Instead, they find themselves cheated out of their money, their time, and maybe even their health.
Fraudulently marketed health products can keep people from seeking and getting treatment from their own healthcare professional. Some products can cause serious harm, and many are expensive because health insurance rarely covers unapproved treatments.
To avoid becoming victims of health fraud, it’s important for consumers to learn how to assess health claims and seek the advice of a health professional.
Common Health Fraud Targets
Officials at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) say health fraud promoters often target people who are overweight or have serious conditions for which there are no cures, including multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, HIV and AIDS, and arthritis.
A diagnosis of cancer can bring feelings of fear and hopelessness. Many people may be tempted to turn to unproven remedies promoted as cancer cures. But they and their loved ones should be skeptical of “miracle” claims because no single device, remedy or treatment can treat all types of cancer. Cancer is a name given to a wide range of diseases; each requires different forms of treatment that are best determined with the advice of a health professional.
Cancer patients who want to try an experimental treatment should enroll in a legitimate clinical study. The FDA reviews clinical study designs to help ensure that patients are not subjected to unreasonable risks.
For more information about cancer treatments, contact the American Cancer Society; the nearest local chapter will be listed in the yellow pages (more…)