Quack Miranda Warning

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The Quack Miranda Warning is a phrase coined by PalMD[1] (erstwhile RationalWiki editor and current well known blogger) to describe the following phrase or variations thereof:

This/these statement(s) have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Contents

[edit] Legal standing

Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires that all labels and marketing materials for products sold as dietary supplements contain the warning in boldface type no smaller than a sixteenth of an inch tall, if the product's marketing materials or packaging "claims, explicitly or implicitly, that the product... has an effect on a specific disease or class of diseases."[2]

The phrase is a reference to the "Miranda warning", the statement of rights recited by police officers when making an arrest under United States law.

[edit] Homeopathic exception

If a remedy is homeopathic, it doesn't fall under DSHEA, and doesn't need to carry the above warning label. This has the unfortunate side-effect of making homeopathic remedies look even more legitimate.

As a consequence, some dietary supplements which would otherwise have fallen under DSHEA have managed to get themselves classified as an official homeopathic remedy. Zinc, for example, can now be sold as "Zincum 1X", and thereby avoid having the dreaded "not evaluated by the FDA" label stuck on it.

[edit] Reasoning

There are three ways to look at this requirement: the truthful way, the sinister way, and the bat-shit insane way.

  1. Truth: Anyone who wants to sell you something that's a load of crap must use this statement to cover themselves legally.
  2. Sinister: Variation of above—someone wants to sell you something that you are supposed to believe is medically useful, but at the same time they tell you in fine print that it is not medically useful. When it doesn't work, they don't get sued. Why would anyone buy something with that disclaimer attached to it? When a real doctor treats someone for a medical problem, they pretty much say that they intend to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent a disease. Why would they say otherwise? It would be a lie. Also, who would go to see a doctor that told you that they didn't intend to diagnose or treat disease? The whole thing is bizarre.
  3. Bat-shit insane: The FDA and Big Pharma are in cahoots with the AMA to keep you from learning all the simple ways to treat diseases. They want your money, and they'll do anything they can to get it from you, including suppressing the knowledge that anyone can learn to heal cancer.

People who believe #3 are probably beyond help. People who are willing to suspend their paranoia should read #'s 1 and 2 a few times. Unless you're being arrested, no one should be reading you your rights. The Quack Miranda Warning is the red flag that should send you running.

Similar disclaimers appear on Scientologists' "E-Meters", identifying them as religious artifacts with no medical application.

[edit] Footnotes

  1. White Coat Underground - Quack Miranda Warning
  2. CFR, Title 21 volume 2 §101.93(f)
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