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Advocacy >  Reporting Misleading or Unproven Medical Claims

Last update: 08/21/2014

Report Bad Drug Ads  |  Report False Claims about Supplements

Why report such claims?

Persons diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions are vulnerable to claims and sales promotions about easy cures.

Exaggerating the benefits, or understating the risks, of an approved drug can cause harm.

Promoting unproven "cures" for cancer is harmful, even when the intent by a layperson is to help.  With ineffective actions the disease can progress unchecked.  The delay can lead to a more acute stage of the disease that is more challenging to treat.  Unregulated products may have unsafe contaminants.  High doses of substances considered "safe" can be toxic.

The FDA defines health fraud as "the promotion, for profit, of a medical remedy known to be false or unproven."

It's easy to make a claim - anyone can make one up.  Because false claims can do harm (like shouting fire in a crowded theatre) it's unethical and potentially criminal for a company to market its products based on unproven medical claims.  To do so the company must first run well-controlled clinical trials, then submit the results to the FDA for independent review.  Only if the product is proven by such study to provide medical benefit can it then be marketed as a treatment ... for the specific medical condition it was tested to treat. 

The alternative to an evidence-based system is chaos - medicine by sales pitch, with no basis for making progress against the serious diseases we suffer from.  Thousands of competing claims ... with no basis for knowing which to choose.

Unfortunately misleading and false medical claims are common - especially on the Internet.  The public can help to curb inappropriate and unethical medical promotions by alerting the authorities as described below.

Related topics:
Red Flags and Free Speech  PDF
When laypersons give medical advice PAL
Myths about cancer  PAL

Is it reputable? - a printable checklist  PDF

Quackwatch quackwatch.com

An international network of people who are concerned about health-related frauds, myths ...
Founded by Dr. Stephen Barrett in 1969 as the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud
(Allentown, Pennsylvania), it was incorporated in 1970.
The problems with testimonials  PDF

Drugs: Recognize and Report Misleading Promotion
Phone: 855-RX-BADAD | 855-792-2323

E-Mail:   | Website for Bad Ad: www.fda.gov/badad
For additional information, call OPDP’s Main Number at (301) 796-1200 or
visit the Get email updates from the Bad Ad Program.

Subscribe to receive information about the program and notifications of actions taken as a result of the program at:  www.fda.gov/badad 


Supplements: Report unproven medical claims about supplements to FTC:
Bureau of Consumer Protection | Federal Trade Commission http://1.usa.gov/1teu0ai 

To report a health and fitness claims: ftccomplaintassistant.gov

Disclaimer:  The information on Lymphomation.org is not intended to be a substitute for 
professional medical advice or to replace your relationship with a physician.
For all medical concerns, you should always consult your doctor. 
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