Society is often lacking in basic knowledge where science is concerned, and this is what allows pseudo-science, fraud, and garbage promoted as "science" to thrive. More important, pseudo-science is most common in those areas of the marketplace where profits are made in the fields of common medicines, vitamins, nutrition, and other everyday sciences that have a substantial effect on our health. The lure of quick riches has given birth to many practitioners of medical quackery, who unintentionally (or otherwise) sell you a false bill of goods that may do more harm to you than good. "Quackery," which usually involves the promotion of misleading information to sell unusual medical products, is thriving more than ever these days as "fashionable" vitamins and medicines make it easy for the Conspiracy to convince you that "memory enhancing vitamins" or strange herbal therapies can cure anything, up to and including cancer and AIDS. The Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud has been reporting and exposing medical quackery since 1970, and the QuackWatch Web site is a useful introduction to their activities.
Interestingly, if you do a Web search for Quackwatch, you're likely to come across a large number of blaring announcements like this: "Quackwatch founder loses in court!" "Quackwatch exposed as quack!" "Quackwatch loses lawsuit!" Nearly all of these accusations are on pseudo-scientific and untrustworthy "medical" Web sites of dubious quality. This also means that if you attempt to use Quackwatch as a verifiable source to prove that a "medical" Web site is lying or worse, they will immediately point to this accusation in order to "prove" that Quackwatch is not a reliable source. (For example, here's a link to The Cure Zone's mirror of the announcement calling the Quackwatch site untrustworthy: ) This all springs from one lawsuit that has been dragged through the courts for years – not by Quackwatch, but by Koren Publications, a chiropractor supply company. Quackwatch explains this lawsuit at these pages:
The short answer seems to be that Stephen Barrett sued Koren for defamation, but his case was dismissed; he then appealed, but the appeal was denied. One side of the case (namely Koren) made a lot of noise about it, repeatedly trumpeting bulletins such as this on many different quack-medicine Web sites:
In spite of this clever debunking of Quackwatch and all of the information it provides, Quackwatch's reputation is still strong enough to make the quacks nervous. Several other "medical" companies have put together statements and Web pages especially to reply to Quackwatch's information about them. Check these out for samples:
This, of course, does nothing to discredit the considerable database of information provided by Quackwatch against dozens, if not hundreds, of bogus "medical" services. Frankly, in this day and age it would be impossible for a site like Quackwatch to not be involved in a lawsuit – after all, medical malpractice is a lucrative industry, and bogus medical companies are very fond of suing in order to get their critics to shut up.
In September of 2009, Quackwatch expanded its sphereof influence by launching Insurance Reform Watch, a site to keep track of problems in the health insurance industry.