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Quackery-Related Definitions

NCAHF's publications rely on the following definitions:

Fraud: "An intentional perversion of truth for the purpose of inducing another in reliance upon it to part with some valuable thing. . . . a false representation of a matter of fact, whether by words or by conduct, by false or misleading allegations, or by concealment of that which should have been disclosed, which deceives or is intended to deceive another so that he shall act upon it."[Black's Legal Dictionary, 4th Edition, 1968]

Health Fraud: The deceptive 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 deliberate or done without adequate knowledge or understanding of the article. [Definition approved and sanctioned by the FDA Compliance Policy Council (letter from M. L. Frazier, Director, State Information Branch, 6/18/93).

Misinformation: "Untrue or misleading information." [Webster's Seventh New Collegiate Dictionary, 1972]

Promote: "To contribute to the growth or prosperity of; to present for public acceptance through advertising and publicity." [Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, 1975]

Quack: "Anyone who promotes medical schemes or remedies known to be false, or which are unproven, for a profit." [United States House of Representatives, Select Committee on Aging, Subcommittee on Health and Long-term Care. Quackery: A $10 Billion Scandal. Washington, DC, 1984, US Government Printing Office.]

Quackery: "Promoting health products, services, or practices of questionable safety, effectiveness, or validity for an intended purpose." [NCAHF, 1986]

Health fraud/quacks: "Health fraud is the promotion, for financial gain, of fraudulent or unproven devices, treatments, services, plans or products (including, but not limited to, diets and nutritional supplements) that alter or claim to alter the human condition. Those who promote such medical remedies that do not work or have not been proven to work are called 'quacks'." [The Assembly Republican Task Force on Health Fraud and the Elderly, New York State Assembly, June 1986]

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This page was revised on March 3, 2001.