Consumer Health Digest #07-48

Your Weekly Update of News and Reviews
December 11, 2007

Consumer Health Digest is a free weekly e-mail newsletter edited by Stephen Barrett, M.D., and cosponsored by NCAHF and Quackwatch. It summarizes scientific reports; legislative developments; enforcement actions; news reports; Web site evaluations; recommended and nonrecommended books; and other information relevant to consumer protection and consumer decision-making.

Please Help Quackwatch and Dr. Barrett

A Message from Robert S. Baratz, MD, PhD, DDS
National Council Against Health Fraud

Dr. Stephen Barrett, has been a leader the worldwide struggle against health fraud for more than 35 years. In addition to publishing the weekly Consumer Health Digest, he has written and/or edited 50 books and manages 23 consumer protection Web sites, including Quackwatch, which has more than 100,000 page views per month and has won many awards for its accuracy and quality. Dr. Barrett also serves as a trusted resource for the media, law-enforcement agencies, educators, and thousands of individual consumers who contact him each year for help.

Quackery promoters have tried to counter his influence by libeling him and filing groundless lawsuits. He has filed several libel suits that have been costly. This week, after a 6-year legal battle, a California judge ordered him to pay the legal fees of one defendant who, although she has posted many negative statements about him, was not held accountable by the courts due to a technicality. In an effort to protect Web hosting companies from what is posted on their clients' Web sites, the US Congress unintentionally put into legislation language that the courts have interpreted as protecting individuals from suits if they don't originate the alleged libels. While absurd, this is the law until Congress changes it. Other legal battles in which Dr. Barrett is involved are described in:

Very few people have the courage and persistence to engage in the struggle against quackery. Dr. Barrett intends to continue, but can use help in defraying legal expenses. Quackwatch and its companion Web sites are important consumer resources. They are free to the public, but maintaining them requires the ability to deal with frivolous assaults by well-financed quacks and the special interests that profit from quackery. If you appreciate Dr. Barrett's work, please make a contribution. Please give whatever you can.

For amounts under $50, or for contributions of any size from foreign countries, please use the PayPal link on the Quackwatch donations page. It is not necessary to be a PayPal subscriber to do this. It can be done by anyone with a credit card, regardless of where you reside.

If you can give $50 or more and live in the United States, it would be best to mail a donation to:

Barrett Defense Fund
Chatham Crossing, Suite 107/208
11312 US 15-501 North
Chapel Hill, NC 27517

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This page was revised on December 24, 2007.