10. Spurious Products Sold Through The Mail
Probably the most extensive study of mail-order health advertising was done in the summer of 1977 by the quackery committee of the Pennsylvania Medical Society. The committee screened five-hundred nationally-circulated magazines and found that about a quarter of them carried ads for mail-order health products. Altogether, about one-hundred-fifty such products were offered by fifty promoters. The products included weight reducers, bust developers, blemish removers, hair-loss remedies, longevity formulas, aphrodisiacs, impotency aids, and others.
According to Postal Service estimates, mail-order fraud costs Americans at least $150 million a year.
In January 1978, some two million copies of a four-page brochure were accepted for insertion into the various editions of eighteen city newspapers from coast to coast. The brochure promoted a handbook, "Modern Solution to Age Old Physical Problems," published by the Midwest Health Research Laboratory. The handbook, it was claimed, "contained a solution or prevention for as many as forty different diseases and illnesses," including arthritis, diabetes, and hardening of the arteries. More than one thousand readers surrendered to the inviting logic of the promotion: "Our special introductory offer of $9.95 can save you unnecessary visits to the doctor, the hospital, and save you money."
Those who mailed money received a twenty-five-page booklet revealing the secret cure-all and end-all of disease —"colonic irrigation," otherwise known as an enema, preferably "two and three times a week." Coupons were available for those desiring "personal Home Treatment Kits" at $29.95 apiece.
The Washington Post and eleven other prominent publications carried full-page ads for Thera-Slim-100, the "diet aid" that supposedly "burns away more fat each 24 hours than if you ran 14 miles a day."
Research conducted by the Consumer's Union resulted in several conclusions concerning some of the more widely-publicized health "cures":
There are many other "cures" being sold through the mail and magazine advertisements, but all are worthless. They are all dishonest attempts to make money from an uninformed or unknowing public. There are no "cures."
Home > Lesson 65 - There Are No Cures
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