Finding a Cure for Snake-Oil

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Chris Gunn

May 24, 2011, 12:34:09 AM5/24/11
Thursday, April 17, 1997

Many people use the Internet as a research tool, searching for information
on their favorite topics. For some, that search turns serious as they look
for information to help them comprehend a disease which has either struck
them, a friend or a loved one. Unfortunately, the Internet is full of
snake-oil salespeople hawking potions and pills they claim can cure diseases
but often are themselves harmful. In fact many of the "medications"
marketed on the Internet have never been tested and, since they are often
sold as health supplements and not over-the-counter or prescription
medications, they are not regulated by the FDA. You can't even be sure that
what's in the bottle is the same as what's on the label.

How is a person, especially a distraught or desperate person, supposed to
tell a friendly piece of advice in a chat room or newsgroup posting from a
disguised sales pitch? Even if it's obviously an advertisement, how does
one tell fact from fiction about diseases and treatments?

Now there's a way. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, at the
request of the Vice President, has inaugurated a new online information
resource called <a href=""> Healthfinder. It
acts as a gateway to reliable disease and treatment information online at
federal, state and local government sites as well as non-profit and
education sites.

The Healthfinder site offers easy to use search pages, along with
publications and libraries to allow consumers to easily find the latest and
most reliable information medical science has to offer on a host of
problems. But HHS also reminds everyone that "information alone can't take
the place of health care you may need." Even if you find useful information
through the Healthfinder resource, you should always discuss treatment, diet
and exercise plans with a qualified physician. The information you find
should improve the quality of your health care choices.

If you, a friend or someone you love is ill and you want information on
treatments and/or a disease in general, check out Healthfinder. In times of
crisis, it's best to have information you can trust.
<a href="">

If you have questions about whether a treatment is right for you, always ask
your doctor.

If you wish to report a suspected snake-oil sales pitch, call the National
Fraud Information Center at 1-800-876-7060 or use our online forms.

Log on the WebSite at, or call 1-800-876-7060.
If you spot obviously illegal operations on the E-Ways, please
forward copies of the messages to NFIC at
|| The above message is auto-posted at regular intervals as a public ||
|| service by the BIZynet(tm) international business network. ||
|| For Information contact: Fred Coles or Chris Gunn ||
|| ||

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