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Quackery has been around just about as long as medicine! In the past, snake oil salesmen went from town to town, preying on people’s fears and offering the ultimate cure-all. Today, the scam is much more sophisticated, often using elaborate marketing schemes and the internet. But the effect is the same, people are fooled into handing over their money to get quick fixes that don’t really work. In so doing, they may fail to seek out legitimate medical help.

Here are a few pointers to help you spot the phonies:

  • The claim that product is an ancient cure from a foreign country. If this were true, then no one from that country would have that disease anymore.

  • The product offers a diagnosis by listing common symptoms. For example, if you are often tired and stressed, you may be suffering from a vitamin deficiency.

  • The product uses meaningless phrases but offers no explanation on how this is possible. For example, this product rids your body of toxins.

  • The product is advertised on infomercials or on Facebook. If the cure for arthritis or cancer had really been found, it would not be advertised on late night TV or as a small ad on your Facebook page.

  • The product advertisement contains words like instant, guaranteed to work, secret formula, doctors don’t want you to know, or miracle.

Legitimate treatments are rarely instant, secret, or miraculous, and most reputable doctors cannot guarantee a cure even with a proven treatment.Diets that guarantee weight loss of 1 lb or more per day. Not only is this unlikely, it is dangerous. (Healthy weight loss should 1- 2 lbs a week).It’s important for people to be vigilant about quackery. Even medical practitioners can be fooled and lead their patients astray by suggesting non scientifically tested treatments. Sadly, billions of dollars are spent every year on unproven treatments that may only exacerbate your problem. Remember, if it seems unbelievable or too good to be true, that’s because it is. If you suspect quackery, please report it to the Anti-Fraud Centre or your local RCMP office.

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