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Every pharmacist is familiar with the meaning of “fraud” as deception or misrepresentation on the part of a seller. Fraud is a prosecutable criminal activity. Used-car salesmen cannot sell an automobile and fail to disclose that the engine does not work. To do so is fraud, and the unwary purchaser has the right to pursue legal redress.

Fraud abounds in medicine. FDA defines health fraud as “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.” (This definition does not include legitimate vitamins and minerals such as calcium and iron. They are proven safe and effective in certain situations, according to data submitted to the FDA.)



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