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"anything involving overpromotion in the field of health." 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.The publication was composed of 20 chapters, organising the work by sections according to the ailments the medicines claimed to treat.Each remedy was tested thoroughly, the preface stated: "Of the accuracy of the analytical data there can be no question; the investigation has been carried out with great care by a skilled analytical chemist." The book did lead to the end of some of the quack cures, but some survived the book by several decades.For example, Beecham's Pills, which according to the British Medical Association contained in 1909 only aloes, ginger and soap, but claimed to cure 31 medical conditions, were sold until 1998.
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.
These "typical" patent or quack medicines were marketed in very different, and highly distinctive, bottles.
Each brand retained the same basic appearance for more than 100 years.
To be both quackery and fraud, the quack must know they are misrepresenting the benefits and risks of the medical services offered (instead of, for example, promoting an ineffective product they honestly believe is effective).
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".
Some remedies contained substances such as opium, alcohol and honey, which would have given symptomatic relief but had no curative properties.