It’s easy to be fascinated by the tempting advertising of infomercials. Taglines such as ‘Miracle Cure!’ and ‘Only $19.95!’ may make you feel that it would be foolish not to buy. While there are many reputable products out there, there are equally as many health scams that cancel out the positives of the attractive media presentation. Spotting a scam called ‘health fraud’ can be done just be paying attention to the words used in the advertisement.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines ‘health fraud’ as: the deceptive promotion, advertising, distribution, or sale of a product represented as being effective to prevent, diagnose, treat, cure, or lessen an illness or condition, or provide another beneficial effect on health, but that has not been scientifically proven safe and effective for such purposes.
If you do succumb to a health fraud, you’re not alone. Lots of people are conned into buying health products that sound great, but are really bogus. Some products may cause serious problems like pain, suffering, or even death. Additionally, you may also lose your money on these swindles.
Look out for products that read:
- Myth: “It’s Natural”
- Reality: Just because a product is labeled ‘natural’ does not mean it is safe. Check to see if the product has been approved by the FDA.
- Myth: “It’s So Easy!”
- Reality: Don’t believe promises like ‘lose weight while you sleep.’ If it sounds too effortless, there’s a very good chance it’s a scam.
- Myth: “Miracle Cure!”
- Reality: Generally, one pill will NOT alleviate many different illnesses like cancer, diabetes, AIDS, or arthritis.
- Myth: “It Worked For Me”
- Reality: Personal success stories often aren’t really personal. Spoiler alert: personal success stories by ‘real people’ or doctors are easy to fabricate.
- Myth: “Pay Now and Save”
- Reality: Don’t feel pressured to buy. Take time to get the facts about the product first. Ask questions. Be informed.
- Myth: “They Don’t Want You To Know”
- Reality: Always feel free to ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist what is best for your health. If it concerns your health and well-being, you deserve to get multiple opinions—do your research.
Protect yourself and your family
- Talk to a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist or call the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at 1-888-463-6332 before you use any health product advertised in an infomercial.
- Get the facts about health fraud at: fda.gov/healthfraud
- Report a problem with a product to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at fda.gov/medwatch or 1-800-332-1088
- Report false advertising to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov or at 1-877-382-4357
Speak out if you’ve been the victim of a health scam. If you have any questions about the above material, or wish to speak to an attorney, please contact HoganWillig at (716)636-7600. HoganWillig is located at 2410 North Forest Road in Amherst, New York 14068, with additional offices conveniently located in Buffalo, Lancaster, and Lockport.