Consumer Health Digest #03-02

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
January 14, 2003


Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.


The Cost of Reliable Information:
A Message to Consumer Health Digest Readers

Robert S. Baratz, MD, DDS, PhD
NCAHF President

Some of you are journalists, and many of you are victims of health scams. All of us are consumers. The information and services we provide are "free," but the cost of getting it to you is considerable. We need to pay rent for our space; operate phones, copiers, and fax; pay for Website hosting, Internet connections, postage, and phone lines; maintain and operate computers; buy software; pay for electricity, store documents, and much much more. It costs more than $40,000 a year to do this. We have to raise at least this much each year.

Based on steadily increasing readership, we know we are doing something right. Many of you use our publications and resources for research, story ideas, and background information. Most of you also use this information to avoid being personally scammed. Many people who use our resources have saved hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by not being taken by worthless promises of treatments, preventatives, and cures.

Health fraud is a multibillion dollar industry, and growing. Worthless materials are pushed as pseudo-drugs. Illicit medical devices to "zap" cancer or heal with magnets abound. Those who promote and sell fraudulent products and services profit from what they do; and these profits fuel a steady stream of more of the same.

The National Council Against Health Fraud needs your help in keeping a steady stream of reliable health information flowing. Simply put, to do what we do, we need your financial support. Contrary to what the quacks would like you to believe, we have no rich relatives and don't get government subsidies. We operate on a shoestring. We are a 501 (c)(3 ) nonprofit organization; and our financial data and tax returns are accessible through Guidestar. Gifts to us are tax deductible.

If you regularly read and use our resources, we ask that you help support them. We suggest a minimum contribution of $20 a year, more if you can afford it -- the equivalent of a month's worth of take-out coffee, a tank of gas, or a modest dinner with a drink and desert. Checks should be sent to:

National Council Against Health Fraud
119 Foster Street, 2nd Floor, Bldg. R
Peabody, MA 01960

Phone: (978) 532-9383
Fax:     (978) 532-9450

To pay by credit card, fax a letter with your signature, name on the card, card number, and expiration date. Note that such payments will be processed by Skin Systems, Inc. with which we share office space, and which has credit card processing equipment. Please also consider joining our organization.

Thank you.


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This page was posted on January 14, 2003.