Several Michigan consumers who had life-threatening illnesses bought a product that was marketed as a "miracle cure" in radio commercials and on the Internet. The treatments costs thousands of dollars and did not appear to help anyone.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, consumers waste billions of dollars on unproven, sometimes useless health care treatments. As a group, older people have more chronic illnesses than younger people and they are more often targets for fraud. Unfortunately, the "cure" is often useless. The victims who fall prey to the scam waste their money, endure painful treatments, and may even forgo traditional medicine that might be able to help them. They can also hinder senior citizens from pursuing valid and needed medical treatments in a timely fashion.
Be skeptical if a product is advertised with these kinds of claims:
- It's a "scientific breakthrough" or has a new, secret ingredient that can cure a wide range of ailments;
- The promoter claims the medical establishment or the government has a conspiracy to suppress the product;
- The promoter uses "testimonials" from people who say they experienced amazing results using the product;
- "Natural" or "herbal" does not equal "safe." Many herbal ingredients are toxic in certain doses, cause allergic reactions or react with prescription or over-the-counter medications.
If you have a serious illness or condition, the best advice is to always see a doctor. Discuss any products you are considering taking with your doctor. Be suspicious of taking health advice from an advertisement or stranger.
Because there is no cure for arthritis, there are many false arthritis cures and remedies. The Arthritis Foundation says that arthritis should be monitored by a doctor because the condition can worsen if it is not properly treated. For a free brochure about unproven remedies, call the Arthritis Foundation toll-free at 1-800-283-7800.
In addition, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has created a website that provides helpful information on health care products and services. The website also includes information about common health care related scams, including Medicare scams, miracle cures, and prescription assistance programs. For more information, please visit the FTC's "Who Cares?" website.