Fraud Hall of Fame
Medical fraud, or quackery as it’s sometimes known, has existed for centuries. In the early 1800s, it was common to see tradesman carrying glass bottles and vials of tonics that “cured” everything under the sun. Salesmen claimed these tonics stopped headaches, toothaches, back pain and any other problem the shopper could identify. As technology increased, so too did the number of fraud devices and their complexities.
The Relaxicisor is a great example of a technologically advanced medical fraud device. This stimulator attached directly to a woman’s inner thighs, and was supposed to help the woman relax and lose weight at the same time by working the leg muscles with electricity. Studies showed that the device actually caused miscarriage, muscle spasms and a host of other problems. While it was pulled off the market for a short period of time, it’s still made today.
Bloodletting was also used for centuries, although many people now assume this was an example of quackery or medical fraud based on the remedies available at the time. The process involved using leeches to slowly suck blood out of the human body. In other cases, shallow cuts were made to the body and the blood slowly let out. The belief was that this would drain the harmful toxins and help the body recover from illness or disease.
Medical fraud and quackery still exist, even today in contemporary times. In the 1980s and 1990s, a variety of copper jewelry was marketed to customers as a pain reliever. The manufacturers claimed that the products gently applied pressure to the pressure points on the body, which reduced pain. A class action lawsuit was later filed by customers who experienced no relief.
Another example is the diet pills that contain high amounts of caffeine and smaller amounts of ingredients without any real benefits. The makers claim that the pills help with weight loss, but those claims aren’t supported by the FDA. There are even stories about companies double charging customers as a way to increase their profits, disappearing and reappearing under a different name a few years later.
More comprehensive resources on medical fraud include:
Questionable Medical Devices: with information on a few specific devices.
Quack Medicine: lists images of different fake cures and treatment options.
Quackery: gives a historical overview on the concept of medical fraud.
Medical Quackery: gives background information on fraud such as how long it’s been around.
Consumer Lawyers: Our attorneys and lawyers who investigate claims nationwide
Miracle Cure Scams: offers signs and information on identifying a scam.
Phrenology: discusses the concept of phrenology.
Denture Cream Lawyers: Our denture cream attorneys and lawyers who investigate denture cream lawsuits.
Quack Medicine: offers information on different tools and products used throughout history.
Quack Watch: examines medical frauds from history to the present day.
Museum of Health Medicine : discusses the museum run by Bob McCoy.
Medical Quackeries: includes information on identifying a scam and examples of past scams.
Resources devoted to a specific type of medical product include Erotic E-Slim, which discusses the product once known as the Relaxacisor, The Revigator, which provides information on the radiation-lined drinking system once hailed as a miracle device, and Spectro-Chrome Color Therapy, with information on the quack advice offered by Dinshah Ghadiali.
The Toftness Radiation Detector discusses the product popular during the 1970s, Bloodletting Antiques gives a history of bloodletting, and Magnetic Delusion mentions the class action lawsuit filed against the makers of magnetic jewelry. There’s also American Artifacts, with pictures of different fraud instruments and remedies.
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