Antiquackery group achieves nonprofit status
The Society for Science Based Medicine (SFSBM), which began operations earlier this year, has been granted 501(c)(3) status, which means that donations to it are now-tax-deductible. It has also begun publishing a free monthly newsletter. The group’s mission includes:
Educating consumers, professionals, business people, legislators, law enforcement personnel, organizations, and agencies about science-based medicine.
Providing resources and information concerning all aspects of science-based medicine.
Providing a central resource for communication between individuals and organizations concerned about science-based medicine.
Supporting sound consumer health laws for the practice of science-based medicine and opposing legislation that undermines it.
Encouraging and aiding legal actions in support of the practice of science-based medicine.
SFSBM’s Web site features a wiki based on articles from Quackwatch and its satellite sites that will be perpetually maintained and updated by expert editorial teams. The site will eventually offer fact sheets, links to book reviews, eBooks (available free to members), and many other educational features. The cost of joining is $85 for basic membership or $25 for student membership. Volunteers are being solicited to help format wiki articles and for other projects.
Classic quackery report republished
NutriWatch has published an account of the proceedings of the 1971 Resource Conference on Food Faddism and Cultism which was sponsored by the American Medical Association and attended by educators, writers and a high-ranking FDA official. The participants noted:
Susceptable groups include: miracle seekers (seeking therapy); the alienated; ritual or authority seekers; those seeking long life, “super” health, or a “high”; the paranoiac or extremist; “truth” seekers; fashion followers; and the afraid.
Education is probably one of the best defenses against food faddism. However, the health food movement has made this difficult by undermining the credibility of industry, government, medicine, and science.
There will never be sufficient manpower to provide the type of education necessary to meet the needs of tremendous groups of people.
Unless a high priority is established within the regulatory agencies which would permit a strong regulatory arm to go with the informational arm, it will be extremely difficult to combat nutrition quackery.
Even if it were possible to promulgate many types of regulations, they are meaningless unless sufficient funds are also allocated to examine or prosecute those guilty of propagating nutrition quackery.
In the 40+ years since this report was issued, the problems described in the report have become worse. The ability to promote quackery has been greatly enhanced by the Internet; professional organizations and academic institutions have become less aggressive; and government regulation is less effective than it was in 1970.
Source: Consumer Health Digest, a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., with help from William M. London, Ed.D. 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.