Have you heard about the Quack Miranda Warning (QMW)? I have. Even if you haven’t heard about it, you have probably heard it over and over again on the radio, on television, and in the fine print of advertisements for many remedies and supplements. The makers of these supplements, though they make millions of dollars sometimes, somehow don’t have it in them to submit proper evidence to regulatory agencies that the stuff they are selling you works. As a result, they have to tell you that their product “is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease”… Although they’re selling you their product to either diagnose, treat, cure or prevent a disease. They just don’t want to be in violation of this federal law which requires that they prove their product works.
But that’s about it. The advertisements for these products usually claim virtually everything they disclaim in the QMW.
For example, let’s see what’s out there for a medical condition.
The medical condition is chronic liver disease resulting from alcohol abuse. It’s a medically recognized disease. It has it’s own ICD-10 code. Chronic liver disease results from alcohol abuse (and other things). But, fear not! There’s this product to prevent liver damage. In fact, it’s product page states:
“It is the only pill of its kind that has been specifically designed to prevent liver damage from alcohol and help protect your liver against the long term health risks of consuming alcohol on a regular basis.”
Read that again. It states very clearly that it is “designed to prevent liver damage”. They even include two images of someone’s lab work, allegedly showing how their liver enzymes got better after taking the pill for a while. (More on that later.) But, like any good supplement, they place the QMW right there at the bottom:
“Smart Drinking Pill is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The statements contained on this web site have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided on this site is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional, or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. Please consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you suspect you might have a health problem. Individual results from using Smart Drinking Pill may vary.”
Well, which is it? On the one hand, the pill is “designed to prevent liver damage”, with liver damage being a medical condition. On the other hand, it “is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” By “any disease,” a reasonable person would think that this includes liver damage. I’m no lawyer, but these claims could be in violation of federal law.
Tsk. Tsk. Tsk.
This is not the only product that does this. There are plenty of others whose manufacturers and/or advertisers claim that their product treats, cures, or prevents a disease, and then they turns around and give us the QMW. Hypocritical, I know.
About that lab work. If you look closely, you’ll see that the person’s liver enzymes are only slightly elevated. They’re not in the range that would be diagnostic for liver disease. A few weeks later, we’re told, they go back to normal. Well, guess what? This happens all the time. Something comes along and irritates the liver (e.g. plain, simple exercise) and gets your liver enzymes elevated. But then you stop the irritant and, the liver being the wonderful self-healing organ that it is, gets back to normal, along with your enzymes.
So, yeah, I’m a little skeptical that it was the pill that brought those liver enzymes back to normal.
I write all this to you in a fog of illness. So I could be wrong and all natural products are wonderful.