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June 24, 2010

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Charles

The quackery will probably never be extinguished completely, as long as there are naive people (and they never seem to be in short supply).

For example, here in Iowa a few years ago, there was a particularly notorious case. An Amish quack got convicted of practicing medicine without a license, his poor victims were other Amish who were afraid of outsiders and hospitals. He treated cancer patients with injections of veterinary medicines and electric shocks delivered by live voltage from a 120v wall socket. He got off lightly with a sentence of only 5 years in prison.

Ray Girvan

Another one for you: John Morgan Richards.

This one emigrated to the UK, where he was acclaimed as a model capitalist, chiefly for promoting quack medicines including Carter's Little Liver Pills and Dr Williams' Pink Pills for Pale People. They were in themselves pretty harmless, but were sold via testimonials of amazing pulled-back-from-death's-door cures. He also was prime mover in promoting cigarettes in the UK, selling through chemists' shops (i.e. pharmacies) with a tactic of paying for the tobacconist license of shops that would stock his cigarettes.

See "The writer, the cancer-merchant, his eccentric wife, and the faux castle" ( http://segalbooks.blogspot.com/2009/04/writer-cigarette-pusher-his-eccentric.html ).

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