MD, PhD, MAE, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

This review aimed to investigate and categorize the causes and consequences of ‘quack medicine’ in the healthcare.

A scoping review, using the 5 stages of Arksey and O’Malley’s framework, was conducted to retrieve and analyze the literature. International databases including the PubMed, Scopus, Embase and Web of Science and also national Iranian databases were searched to find peer reviewed published literature in English and Persian languages. Grey literature was also included. Meta-Synthesis was applied to analyze the findings through an inductive approach.

Out of 3794 initially identified studies, 30 were selected for this review. Based on the findings of this research, the causes of quackery in the health were divided into six categories:

  • political,
  • economic,
  • socio-cultural,
  • technical-organizational,
  • legal,
  • and psychological.

Additionally, the consequences of this issue were classified into three categories:

  • health,
  • economic,
  • and social.

Economic and social factors were found to have the most significant impact on the prevalence of quackery in the health sector. Legal and technical-organizational factors played a crucial role in facilitating fraudulent practices, resulting in severe health consequences.

The authors concluded that it is evident that governing bodies and health systems must prioritize addressing economic and social factors in combating quackery in the health sector. Special attention should be paid to the issue of cultural development and community education to strengthen the mechanisms that lead to the society access to standard affordable services. Efforts should be made also to improve the efficiency of legislation, implementation and evaluation systems to effectively tackle this issue.

The authors point out that, in the health systems, particularly those of developing countries, a phenomenon known as “Quack Medicine” has been a persistent problem, causing harm in various branches of health care services. They define quackery as unproven or fraudulent medical practices that have no scientifically plausible rationale behind them. Someone who does not have professional qualification, formal registration from a legitimated institution, or required knowledge of a particular branch of medicine but practices in the field of medicine, is a quack, according to the authors’ definition. Finally, they define quack medicine as a fraudulent practice of quacks claiming to possess the ability and experience to diagnose and treat diseases, and pretending that the medicine or treatment they provide are effective, generally for personal and financial gain.

The authors rightly point out that, in some countries, there may be a lack of willpower, determination and effort among political leaders to deal with and prevent fraud and charlatanism in various fields, especially in the health system. This can be due to conflict of interests, corruption network, or insufficient infrastructure and resources, such as financial capacity and human resources. In some cases, they stress, policy makers may choose to tolerate small levels of unproven medical practices if the cost of prosecuting and correcting the situation outweigh the financial benefits. This can lead to a cycle of continued fraud and a lack of effective interventions to address the issue. In many countries laws against quack medicine do exist. However, their effectiveness depends on proper and strict implementation. More efforts and measures must be taken to implement the existing laws. Inadequate enforcement of laws and approval of pseudo-medicine can result in people receiving improper care.

The authors recommend that the healthcare systems, prioritize addressing economic and sociocultural factors in order to effectively combat this issue. In developing solutions, attention must be given to cultural development and community education, and efforts should be made to strengthen mechanisms that provide access to affordable, standard healthcare services for all. Lastly, it is crucial to enhance the performance of systems responsible for legislation, implementation and evaluation of laws and regulations related to quack medicine.

One Response to Causes and consequences of ‘quack medicine’ in healthcare

  • When medical doctors (REAL DOCTORS! no American type impostors) are selling quackery, even professors of medicine pushing or selling it, it is hard for the laymen to realize that they sell him fraud. Here the real and main enemy of the citizen is part of the game: politicians and judges. It is them, who by will support quackery. As long as quacks are not sentenced hard for their crimes, the quacks will prosper.

    As we can see again and again in Germany, the main support for homeopathy is by ministers of health and the governments of the Bundesländer, the states Germany consists of. Think of the “study” in Bavaria. Think of the universities being forced to accept endowed chairs the universities must accept or they would lose subsidies. The “freedom of teaching” in the case of quackery is a farce. There are forgers the universities can not get rid of because of the “Beamtenrecht”, the special academic civil service law. The criminals even can attack the critic legally. The legal system is abused by the criminals, and the political system knowingly supports that.

    Forget studies. Fight the frauds at the real place: in politics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address to receive notifications of new blog posts by email.

Recent Comments

Note that comments can be edited for up to five minutes after they are first submitted but you must tick the box: “Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.”

The most recent comments from all posts can be seen here.

Archives
Categories