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Health Fraud

Health fraud falls into two broad classes - telling people lies that may kill them or someone else, and stealing from people by selling bogus medicines. The sites listed here provide useful information in the battle against quackery and for people just wanting to find out more about how real medicine works. (A list of sites offering suspect or fraudulent medical advice, products and services can be found at The Millenium Project.)

Books relating to this category can be found here.

There are sites listed in this category. Please click here for a condensed listing without descriptions of the entries.

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The National Cancer Institute

National Cancer Institute - News releases

The National Council Against Health Fraud

National Fraud Information Center

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

National Library of Medicine, Medlineplus Health Fraud

National Patient Safety Foundation

Quacks love to say that real medicine doesn't do anything to increase patient safety. They are wrong.

National Prescribing Service

"NPS provides practical tools and information about medicines, health conditions and medical tests. This helps individuals and health professionals be medicinewise, making better informed choices about their health"

The New England Journal of Medicine

NIAID Division of AIDS

"[T]he Division's mission is to increase basic knowledge of the pathogenesis, natural history, and transmission of HIV disease and to support research that promotes progress in its detection, treatment, and prevention." (Stuart Adams)

"The intelligent guide to good health and longevity through optimal nutrition".

Operation Cure.All (US Federal Trade Commission)

This website offers information for consumers on how to recognize health fraud, guidance for businesses on how to market health products and services truthfully, and information about the FTC's initiatives.

PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health)

PATH's mission is to improve health, especially the health of women and children. An emphasis is placed on improving the quality of reproductive health services and on preventing and reducing the impact of widespread communicable diseases. PATH identifies, develops, and applies appropriate and innovative solutions to public health problems. This is accomplished by exchanging knowledge, skills, and technologies with governmental and nongovernmental partners in developing countries and with groups in need elsewhere.

Persiflagers Annotated Compendium of Infections Disease Facts, Opinion and Dogma (Mark Crislip)

"The PACID is an electronic guide to Infectious Diseases for use by all medical people. It is a series of hyperlinked pages covering antibiotics, pathogens and diseases"

Pharmaceutical & Medical Abbreviation Dictionary

A dictionary of over 70,000 medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical & healthcare acronyms and abbreviations.

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme

This web site contains information on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme including details of the medicines subsidised by the Australian Government as well as information for consumers, carers, health professionals and the pharmaceutical industry. The PBS is part of Australia's broader National Medicines Policy (NMP).

Potential Forensic Significance of Traditional Herbal Medicines

"Traditional herbal substances may contain highly toxic chemicals and heavy metals, in addition to naturally occurring organic toxins. These substances may cause illness, exacerbate pre-existing ill health or result in death, particularly if taken in excess or in an unusual manner "

Pressure Ulcer Resource Guide (Jennifer Hamilton)

"Pressure Ulcers, also known as bedsores or decubitus ulcers, are tissue lesions caused by unrelieved pressure on the bodies soft tissue which reduces or blocks blood flow. Pressure ulcers are an increasingly common ailment which causes suffering, the need for painful treatments, and in extreme cases death"

Probability and Statistics -- from MathWorld

The abuse or misunderstanding of statistics is endemic in pseudoscience. This site explains many of the tests and terms used in statistics. (Warning - lots of maths, but generally understandable by a lay person.)

Pseudodoxia Epidemica : or, Enquiries Into very many Received Tenents And commonly presumed Truths. (Sir Thomas Browne)

Sir Thomas Browne's great 1646 treatise on fallible thinking and self-deception.

Public Health Reseach & Practice (NSW Health Department)

Public Health Research & Practice is an open-access, quarterly, online journal with a strong focus on the connection between research, policy and practice.


PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine, provides access to over 12 million MEDLINE citations back to the mid-1960's and additional life science journals. PubMed includes links to many sites providing full text articles and other related resources.

The Quack Doctor

"The Quack Doctor, a collection of panacean powders, pills, potions, procedures and pamphlets, as advertised in historical newspapers"

QuackCast (Mark Crislip)

"A podcast review of Quacks, Frauds and Charlatans. Oops. That's not right. That should be Complementary and Alternative Medicine i.e. CAM"

The Quackometer (Andy Lewis)

"Experiments and Thoughts on Quackery, Health Beliefs and Pseudoscience"

Quackwatch (Stephen Barrett)

The granddaddy of all the anti-quackery sites.

Quantum Quackery (Victor J. Stenger)

Recovered Memory Therapy in Australia

"Unregulated counsellors and psychotherapists present a real threat to ordinary Australian families. RMT is nothing less than 'trial by therapy'. Mothers and fathers are presumed guilty: there is virtually no defence".

Regulation of advertising of therapeutic goods in Australia

Respectful Insolence (David Gorski)

Rosemary Jacob's argyria introduction page (Rosemary Jacobs)

Read this before you believe anyone who tries to sell you "colloidal silver" as a treatment for anything.

Science at Home (Deb Hodgkin)

A science teacher's way to spread education about science.

Science Based Medicine

Science Business (David Shaywitz)

Science, Reason and Critical Thinking (Crispian Jago)

The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice

The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice (SRMHP) is the only peer-reviewed journal devoted exclusively to distinguishing scientifically-supported claims from scientifically-unsupported claims in clinical psychology, psychiatry, social work, and allied disciplines.

Sense About Science

"Promoting good science and evidence for the public"

Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings About Herbs

Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings About Vitamins and Supplements

The SkepDoc (Harriet Hall)

The Skeptical OB (Dr Amy Tuteur)

Skeptical Raptor

"A Skeptical Raptor's native environment is the jungles of the internet, where junk science, pseudoscience, myths, logical fallacies, and outright lies survive unchecked. The Raptor has evolved over several million years to hunt down these anti-science prey, attempting to remove them from the internet gene pool. Remember, a Raptor is missing some table manners, so the prey may not be treated very nicely"

The Skeptic's Dictionary - Alternative Medicine (Robert T. Carroll)

Skeptics' Stack Exchange

This is a collaboratively edited question and answer site for scientific skepticism.

Sleep Health Information

Steelclaws on Snake Oil

"A skeptical look at alternative medicine and related issues"

Stuff and Nonsense

Taubman Medical Library Homeopathy Collection

Terra Sigillata

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)

The Australian community expects that medicines and medical devices in the marketplace are safe and of high quality, to a standard at least equal to that of comparable countries. The objective of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989, which came into effect on 15 February 1991, is to provide a national framework for the regulation of therapeutic goods in Australia and ensure their quality, safety and efficacy.

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia) - Complaints Resolution Panel

Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code Council (Australia)

In Australia all advertisements and generic information provided about Therapeutic Goods directed to the public must comply with provisions of the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989 and Therapeutic Goods Regulations 1990 and the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code (TGAC).

The Toadstool Millionaires: A Social History of Patent Medicines in America before Federal Regulation (James Harvey Young PhD)

This book, originally published in 1961, chronicles the rise of the patent medicine trade from its beginnings in colonial America until passage of the first federal food and drug law. Dr. Young (1915-2006) was a social historian whose special interest was the development of food and drug regulation in America. He served for many years as a professor of history at Emory University and also wasas a member of the FDA National Advisory Food and Drug Council. The book is reproduced with the kind permission from him and the publisher, Princeton University Press.

The Truth, Myths and Lies About the Health and Diet of the "Long-Lived" People of Hunza, Pakistan, Hunza Bread and Pie Recipes

"This web site will prove that eating red meat and natural animal fats while restricting carbohydrates is not only healthy but will prevent and cure many diseases".

The Ultimate Cancer Medicare Guide: What You Need To Know (Texas)

What you need to know about Medicare and cancer if you live in Texas.

Understanding Medical Words

A Tutorial from the National Library of Medicine

Unorthodox Techniques for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergy, Asthma and Immune Disorders (ASCIA)

"While our ability to accurately diagnose and treat allergic disease has benefited from scientific understanding of what happens during an allergic reaction, a number of tests and treatments have been promoted in the absence of any scientific rationale. Some non-conventional approaches to disease also claim that various disorders unrelated to allergy have an immune basis. These tests and treatments have been shown to be unreliable when subjected to careful study. ASCIA advises against use of these tests for diagnosis or to guide medical treatment"

Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments (Justin Kruger and David Dunning)

"People tend to hold overly favorable views of their abilities in many social and intellectual domains. The authors suggest that this overestimation occurs, in part, because people who are unskilled in these domains suffer a dual burden: Not only do these people reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it. Across 4 studies, the authors found that participants scoring in the bottom quartile on tests of humor, grammar, and logic grossly overestimated their test performance and ability. Although their test scores put them in the 12th percentile, they estimated themselves to be in the 62nd. Several analyses linked this miscalibration to deficits in metacognitive skill, or the capacity to distinguish accuracy from error. Paradoxically, improving the skills of participants, and thus increasing their metacognitive competence, helped them recognize the limitations of their abilities"

The View From The Hills (Rosalie Hilleman)

What's The Harm? (Tim Farley)

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