How do you know if an ad for an “alternative medicine” treatment is a fake? Several clues should be present to determine its legitimacy. These include the lack of scientific evidence, appeal to our sense of magic, and unproven products. Let’s look at some of these clues. What makes an ad a fake? Here are a few examples. The first is “natural.” This doesn’t mean it’s safe. In fact, some “natural” products may be dangerous and interfere with existing treatments.
The world is abuzz with COVID-19, and alternative medicine practitioners are leveraging the panic to sell their unproven treatments. According to a recent analysis of news reports about the disease, about 75 percent of them are fake. In addition to claiming to cure COVID, these practitioners are also marketing cow urine as a disinfectant, bleach as a cure, and a variety of other unproven products.
Despite the widespread use of unproven medicines, the medical community has finally begun to recognize the value of evidence-based medicine. Academicians must resist the temptation to recommend unproven products, but they must emphasize that they are not substitutes for proven medications. Fortunately, this pressure is slowly waning. Here’s a look at why pharmacists recommend unproven alternatives. Let’s explore the reasons behind the growing popularity of unproven remedies:
Many pharmacists aren’t aware of the liability issues involved with selling unproven medicines. Many of them think that by having an unproven product on a pharmacy shelf, they’re providing an implied warranty of safety and efficacy. In fact, such claims are not supported by evidence. However, in the U.S., the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) has granted unprecedented legitimacy to unproven dietary supplements. Many professional magazines and organizations also published articles promoting unproven medications. As a result, the term quackery has fallen out of use among pharmacists.
The FTC is a minor threat to unproven medicine manufacturers, providing little protection for consumers. It only acts once a company or individual engages in unethical advertising practices. Filing a complaint online with the FTC’s website results in an automated reply and a form letter. As a pharmacist, it is essential to monitor pharmacy magazines for unproven medication advertisements. And don’t forget to check for advertisements that include unproven alternative medicines.
While people are entitled to choose the method of healthcare that is most effective for them, they need to be aware of whether alternative medicine is safe or not. In some cases, people may choose to opt for fake alternative medicine, thinking they are receiving safe, effective medicines. However, these treatments may actually be quack remedies. For example, grapefruit seed extract may have an apparent universal antimicrobial effect, but the contamination of the substance is synthetic.
Other false claims include using blood-borne proteins, which are controversial and have only a tenuous connection to legitimate research. The concept behind blood-borne proteins is that it boosts the immune system, and this treatment is based on the immune system differences seen in autism. However, there is no good clinical data to support the claims made for these treatments. Even better, blood-borne proteins may not work at all. Alternatively, a spray containing these proteins may boost the immune system.
Lack of scientific evidence
Despite the prevalence of fake alternative medicine, its lack of scientific evidence has not stopped the media from publishing stories touting its effectiveness. Some pseudoscience journals, which are often disguised as legitimate scientific publications, have been published by mainstream publishers. While the journals do not actually promote any particular treatment, they do create a market for studies and breakthroughs that aren’t backed up by scientific evidence. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine recently published an editorial critical of natural medicine, claiming that it does not contain scientific evidence.
Another problem with alternative medicine is that the dominant paradigm is not supported by science. Those who promote it may not actually be true believers. But they may be selling a product they aren’t willing to give up. Moreover, they may be deceptive. It is possible that they are using their own personal beliefs to market their products. But if they’re not telling the truth, they are selling a phony product.
Ioannidis’ research showed that one-third to half of renowned medical studies are fraudulent. Yet, the impact of this unreliable research is undeniable. She found that three prominent health studies from the 1980s were still cited by researchers despite having been discredited for years. One study even cited the original results twelve years after it was discredited. So, the lack of scientific evidence is not limited to fake alternative medicine.
Interactions with conventional medicines
Fake alternative medicine, a form of holistic or complementary medicine, has received much scrutiny lately. The current regime has been criticized for allowing a fake natural product to be licensed as a treatment by Health Canada. The CBC Marketplace reportedly submitted a homeopathic reference book from 1902 as evidence for its legitimacy. The bogus children’s medication was approved, claiming to provide relief for inflammation, pain, and fever.