How Medika’s Quack Scale Works

What is a Quack?

It’s not always easy to spot or identify a medical quack. Medika Life takes the guesswork out of it, with a comprehensive list of quacks spreading medical misinformation.

We understand in a digital age, just how difficult it has become to sort fact from fiction. Sadly, just like in any other profession, healthcare attracts its share of charlatans and unprincipled individuals who are concerned only with their own fame, and fortune. They will peddle their opinions and products to you with little or no concern for your health. We call them Predatory Health Practitioners, the very worst kind of doctors.

To help you sort out the schemers and con artists Medika has set up a Quack Scale for you to easily and quickly identify healthcare professionals that pose a risk to your health and mental wellbeing.

What the ducks mean to you as a patient or member of the public

Quack Scale - One Duck

One duck

No risk. This medical professional is beyond reproach. You can trust what they say and they are held in high esteem by their colleagues. They are not driven by financial gain and place the interests of their patients and the health of the public at the forefront of their profession. We don’t however list any doctors under this category as we don’t wish to taint their professional careers with a Quack rating. They are a little like the tooth fairy and you’ll just have to take our word for it. They are out there.

Quack Scale - Two Ducks

Two ducks

Unknown. This professional does not enjoy a sufficiently developed professional profile to properly ascertain risk. If any of their current stances are in conflict with sound and safe medical practice they are not sufficiently vocal to warrant danger to their patients and the public. The advice in contention will be listed on the individual’s profile.

Quack Scale - Three Ducks

Three ducks

Medium Risk. Although an established professional, this individual is offering advice (expanded on the individual’s profile) we consider to be untested and unsafe. Proceed with caution when considering treatment, medication, or therapy endorsed by this individual. We recommend consulting another recognized professional in the same field for a second opinion. There are usually no complaints filed against this rating.

Quack Scale - Four Ducks

Four ducks

Medium/High Risk. This individual has outspoken opinions on current medical advice or treatments that flies in the face of established, trialed, and evidence-based medicine. In our opinion following their advice will place your health at risk. What they are endorsing is often linked to financial gain for themselves or an associated party. This rating usually has associated patient complaints associated with the individual. Often accompanied by a strong social media profile.

Quack Scale - Five Ducks

Five ducks

High Risk!!! Our ultimate Bad Egg list. In Medika’s opinion, this individual poses a significant risk to both the public and their patients. They often profit off the sale of medical misinformation and will sell you products or treatments they underwrite. They are usually not currently licensed and trade off their reputations and qualifications to mislead and misdirect the public with false, misleading, and often dangerous advice, both medical and otherwise.

If you choose to follow their advice you are placing your health at grave risk.

Our advice is to run a mile and where possible report these individuals to their respective licensing. and professional boards. You can find information on how to do this below each profile. This rating almost always has complaints lodged against the practitioner from patients and the individual may even be facing legal action regarding their practice or business models.

This rating enjoys a very strong and outspoken presence on social media and preys on unwitting victims who are conned by the person’s professional credentials. Their favorite ploy is to spread fear related to a particular condition and then in the next breath, offer you treatments or products they assure you will work. Lies.

What factors do we consider when ranking a Predatory Health Practitioner?

We use the following criteria to evaluate the Predatory Health Practitioners we list. We also look at other factors, but primarily use information procured online whilst verifying or validating the following.

  • Current applicable licensing to practice from a recognized medical authority
  • Validated medical credentials (is the person actually qualified)
  • Current listed public complaints from patients or members of the public
  • Current or previous legal complaints against the practitioner, either in a professional capacity or relating to a business.
  • Support or critique from colleagues.
  • Advice or proffered medical opinions that are misleading, dangerous, or untested and that often fall outside the professional’s field of expertise.
  • For-profit business model or revenue generation attached to opinions and advice offered by the individual.

What if a medical professional isn’t listed?

It simply means we haven’t as yet looked at that individual with a view to assessing their profile. If you have concerns about someone, you are welcome to use the comments below to request we look into a practitioner. We promise we’ll get to it as soon as possible and will respond to the comment, confirming or dispelling your concerns.

If you are ever in doubt about advice relating to your health we strongly recommend seeking a second opinion from a similarly qualified professional. Most doctors really do have their patient’s best interests at heart, it’s the quacks and predators you need to watch out for.

Where does the term “Quack” come from?

This nickname for people peddling fake cures and/or pretending to have medical skills they don’t actually possess has been around since at least the early 17th century. The Oxford English Dictionary lists the oldest recorded use in Francis Quarles’ 1638 book, Hieroglyphikes of the Life of Man: “Quack, leave thy trade; thy dealings are not right, thou tak’st our weighty gold, to give us light.”

Quack, in the sense of a medical impostor, is a shortening of the old Dutch quacksalver (spelled kwakzalver in the modern Dutch), which originally meant a person who cures with home remedies, and then came to mean one using false cures or knowledge.

The etymological trail gets muddy if you go any further back than that, and quacksalver has been traced variously to kwakken (to fling or throw down) + zalver (person who cures with ointments), quacsalven (a term for home remedies, from the 1300s), and quaken (to quack or croak) + salf (salve). Taken figuratively, the kwakken and quaken origins imply someone peddling and boasting about their medical wares, legitimate or not—a little broader, but not too far off from the modern usage.

The term is also broadly used as a slang term, particularly in the U.K. to refer to medical professionals, with no ill-intent intended. For example,” Have you been to see the quack?”

Reporting a Healthcare Professional

In the U.S: The American Medical Association lists a very clear and distinct set of guidelines or Code of Conduct for doctors and healthcare professionals. If you feel this code has been breached, or if you have concerns relating to your healthcare provider, you need to get in touch with your state’s licensing board. You can find contact details for all the state boards on this page, The Federation of State Medical Boards

Medwatch is a brand of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and they have teeth with which to bite. You can access their online form for registering a complaint by following this link. At the moment, they’re really hot on fake covid-19 products and treatments and the individuals and websites selling the products or spreading misinformation.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is an excellent place to register your covid related complaints as they have a task team set up specifically to protect consumers against charlatans and quacks. Fill in their online form or call their dedicated National Helpline number. They are also the place to report price gouging and hoarding.

In the U.K: Direct your complaints to the GMC (General Medical Council) via their website, which also makes allowance for Welsh speakers.

The article lives hereHow Medika's Quack Scale Works
Medika Life
Medika Life
Medika Life is a digital Health Publication for both the medical profession and the public. Make informed decisions about your health and stay up to date with the latest developments and technological advances in the fields of medicine.

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