FDA website warns of latest health scams
When the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed in 1906, con men could be found peddling snake oil (billed as a cure for aching joints) and other dubious remedies at medicine shows. A century later, "miracle cure" scams have moved to the Internet. But one thing hasn't changed: When it comes to your health, it's important to be wary of sales pitches for questionable products.
Gary Coody, national health fraud coordinator at the U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA), says health scams are pervasive today because "the Internet has opened up the world market to people." Unfortunately, this market includes worthless or even dangerous products sold as "cures."
Coody's advice: Always check with your doctor before purchasing any unfamiliar medication or treatment. Be especially skeptical about anything marketed as a "cure-all" or "quick fix" for serious or chronic diseases.
To help consumers learn more about protecting themselves, the FDA recently launched a health care fraud website . Besides advice from experts such as Coody on avoiding scams, the site has links to government resources related to FDA-regulated products including drugs, alternative medicines, supplements, medical devices, and more.
Consumers also can search the site to see if the FDA has taken action against a product or company, says an FDA news release. However, the FDA warns that just because it has not taken action against a product does not mean it is legal or safe.