Saturday, May 14, 2005

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To combat health fraud, FDA established its National Health Fraud
Unit in 1988. The unit works with the National Association of
Attorneys General and the Association of Food and Drug Officials to
coordinate federal, state and local regulatory actions against specific
health frauds.

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Health fraud costs Americans an estimated $30 billion a year.
However, the costs are not just economic, according to John Renner,
M.D., a Kansas City-based champion of quality health care for the
elderly. "The hidden costs--death, disability--are unbelievable," he
says.

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Avoiding Fraud
FDA defines health fraud as the promotion, advertisement,
distribution, or sale of articles, intended for human or animal use, that
are represented as being effective to diagnose, prevent, cure, treat, or
mitigate disease (or other conditions), or provide a beneficial effect on
health, but which have not been scientifically proven safe and effective
for such purposes. Such practices may be deliberately deceptive, or
done without adequate knowledge or understanding of the article.

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imagery for asthma and breast cancer. (With imagery, patients are
guided to see themselves in a different physical, emotional or spiritual
state. For example, patients might be guided to imagine themselves in
a state of vibrant health and the disease organisms as weak and
destructible.)
While these alternative therapies are the subject of scientifically valid
research, it's important to remember that at this time their safety and
effectiveness are still unproven.