The “Health Freedom” Movement versus Consumer Protection
Promoters of health superstitions and pseudoscience often participate in "health freedom" advocacy organizations that work to undermine consumer protection and public health laws, such as vaccinations, community water fluoridation, and pasteurization, comments William London, professor of public health at Cal State L.A. "Health freedom" advocates favor legislation that frees people who offer products and services from meeting professional standards and from accountability to consumers. They insist that consumers should have "freedom of choice" in the health marketplace and that the free enterprise system is based on the principle of caveat emptor (let the buyer beware). But consumers have only the illusion of free choice when they are led to make decisions based on false or misleading information. Caveat emptor is an important educational message, but it's unreasonable to rely on it without public policy based on the notion of caveat venditor, or caveat vendor (let the seller beware). London will scrutinize the arguments and activities of various individuals and organizations advocating for "health freedom".
London also is the associate editor of Consumer Health Digest, a North American Editor of the journal Focus on Alternative and Complementary Therapies, coauthor of the college textbook Consumer Health: A Guide to Intelligent Decisions, a consultant to the Committee on Skeptical Inquiry, and the Renegades & Rascals online columnist for Skeptical Inquirer.
This talk will also take place earlier in the day at CFI-L.A. at 11 a.m.
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