Quackery or health fraud is the promotion of fraudulent or ignorant medical practices. In the Middle Ages the term quack meant “shouting”. The quacksalvers sold their wares on the market knowledge to action forex secrets in a loud voice.
Common elements of general quackery include questionable diagnoses using questionable diagnostic tests, as well as untested or refuted treatments, especially for serious diseases such as cancer. Since it is difficult to distinguish between those who knowingly promote unproven medical therapies and those who are mistaken as to their effectiveness, United States courts have ruled in defamation cases that accusing someone of quackery or calling a practitioner a quack is not equivalent to accusing that person of committing medical fraud. In addition to the ethical problems of promising benefits that can not reasonably be expected to occur, quackery also includes the risk that patients may choose to forego treatments that are more likely to help them, in favor of ineffective treatments given by the “quack”. This definition would include questionable ideas as well as questionable products and services, regardless of the sincerity of their promoters. In line with this definition, the word “fraud” would be reserved only for situations in which deliberate deception is involved. Unproven, usually ineffective, and sometimes dangerous medicines and treatments have been peddled throughout human history.
Theatrical performances were sometimes given to enhance the credibility of purported medicines. Even where no fraud was intended, quack remedies often contained no effective ingredients whatsoever. Some remedies contained substances such as opium, alcohol and honey, which would have given symptomatic relief but had no curative properties. Some would have addictive qualities to entice the buyer to return. The few effective remedies sold by quacks included emetics, laxatives and diuretics.