[ELI5] How governments allow snake oil “medicine” to sell on TV, light night? Some of these products are dangerous to people, like prostate crap that will do nothing and may prevent the people to survive if diagnosed too late?

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[ELI5] How governments allow snake oil “medicine” to sell on TV, light night? Some of these products are dangerous to people, like prostate crap that will do nothing and may prevent the people to survive if diagnosed too late?

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In the united states. They use disclaimers. Most of the ads state at one point “this product has not been approved by the FDA and is not intended to diagnosis, cure or prevent _______. Consult a physician before starting _________”.

A disclaimer a day keeps the lawyers away.

sorry for grammar and spelling on mobile. EDITED

Lobbying. All that stuff falls under the category of supplemental care, which the FDA doesn’t regulate. It can make whatever claims it wants, as long as they put in fine print that it hasn’t actually been tested. The ingredients can be whatever they want, and they don’t need to tell consumers.

What’s even funnier are the ones that are accurate. My brother eats these kids multivitamins that claim they have 800% of the recommended amount.

The issue isn’t that they are “allowing” it, so much as they ***aren’t*** “disallowing” it. Let me explain.

Essentially, under laws they have made to govern private sales, so long as those products aren’t boasted to be medically active beyond what they possibly could be, they cannot prevent the sales from happening.

Most of those snake oil “medicines”, are boasted as “alleviating the symptoms” (or some sort of phrasing that means the same, roughly), and so long as there is anything in there that could reasonably affect a symptom in any way, the product is legit for sale to that effect.

Is it indirectly dangerous? Yes, greatly. Should it be regulated better? Yes, definitely.

But they probably won’t… Because it’s usually not directly dangerous. To make the sale of something illegal, you need to have probably cause that it could be directly dangerous, and even then, you’re facing a major hurdle in that adults will claim “my body, my choice” on a lot if those things. That’s why alcohol and cigarettes are mostly available to adults: They are directly dangerous… But people don’t care, or really want to keep it around.

They get away with it by being deliberately vague and not making any claims that they actually work.

They drop some hints that a pill “works with the natural balance of your hormones which help with prostate health”. A sentence like this is totally meaningless. It doesn’t say anything about the pills, and adds some BS about hormones affecting prostate health as a distraction to make it sound like the pills affect the prostate.

They can’t simply come out and say “relieves the symptoms of prastatic hypertrophy” because that is a medical claim, and the FDA would require clinical trial proof before they allowed a company to make such a claim.

Sometimes they may out a disclaimer on, but the disclaimer is mostly irrelevant. It’s the words that count. And if you listen closely, they are just saying words which don’t actually mean anything, but if you don’t listen closely enough you might think they meant something.

Didnt Dr.Oz sell “snake oil” medicine at some point hence the reason he is not airing anymore (I don‘t follow TV all that much anymore)