Let the Buyer Beware

by Karen Lee Richards

Whenever any chronic or painful illness becomes relatively well known, companies providing health-related products and services take notice and begin developing new products to help this patient population.  Unfortunately, scam artists and hucksters also take notice and crawl out of their holes, sensing fertile ground. 

In recent years, both fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome have become targets for people and companies looking to get rich off of our suffering.  There are many good products and alternative treatment options available, such as vitamin and herbal supplements, acupuncture, myofascial release therapy and yoga.  But there are also a growing number of questionable products and services being heavily promoted.  So how you do tell which is which?


Learn to Recognize the Red Flags

Before you even consider spending your money to try a new product, look for these warning signs:

  Products or techniques that are promoted through interactive online communities. 

Although most online communities work hard at trying to keep spammers out, a few do occasionally slip through the cracks.  Spammers will try to infiltrate any health-related community site.  They may show up in blogs or SharePosts, comments, forums and message boards.  Frequently they claim to be someone who has been healed or at least greatly helped by a particular product.  They invite you to visit a Web site or give you an e-mail address or phone number where you can get more information.  Although they seldom admit it, most of the time these people are affiliates of the company selling the product and their primary motivation is making money, not helping you.  The best thing you can do when you come across a questionable post is to notify the Web site host or forum moderator so the post can be deleted. 


  Products, techniques or therapies that promise to cure FM or ME/CFS.

There is no cure for fibromyalgia or ME/CFS, so you know right away this is a false claim.  If their primary claim is a lie, is there any reason to think you can trust anything else they say?

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