Quackwatch is a network of Web sites and mailing lists developed by Stephen Barrett, M.D. and maintained by the Center for Inquiry (CFI). Their primary focus is on quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere. Dr. Barrett’s activities include:
- Investigating questionable claims
- Answering inquiries about products and services
- Advising quackery victims
- Distributing reliable publications
- Debunking pseudoscientific claims
- Reporting illegal marketing
- Improving the quality of health information on the Internet
- Attacking misleading advertising on the Internet
The Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud (Allentown, Pennsylvania) was founded by Dr. Stephen Barrett in 1969 and became a nonprofit corporation in 1970. In 1997, as the Internet developed, Dr. Barrett changed the corporation’s name to Quackwatch, Inc. and began developing a worldwide network of volunteers and expert advisors. In 2008, after Dr. Barrett moved to North Carolina, Quackwatch, Inc., was dissolved (and was no longer a legal entity). He continued the above activities, and people throughout the world who share his concerns have continued to supply information and offers of help. In 2020, the Web sites were transferred to the Center for Inquiry (CFI), which will maintain them indefinitely.
- Consumer Health Digest, a free weekly e-mail newsletter
- The healthfraud discussion list, which has about 600 members
The Quackwatch Web site was launched in December 1996. The other sites are:
- Acupuncture Watch (started 2/05): The skeptical guide to acupuncture history, theories, and practices
- Allergy Watch (8/07): Your guide to questionable theories and practices.
- Autism Watch (7/04): Your scientific guide to autism
- Cancer Treatment Watch (8/05): Your guide to sensible cancer treatment
- Casewatch (7/04): Your guide to health fraud- and quackery-related legal matters
- Chelation Watch (7/04): A skeptical view of chelation therapy
- Chirobase (10/98): Your skeptical guide to chiropractic history, theories, and practices
- Credential Watch (2/05): Your guide to health-related education and training
- Dental Watch (6/02): Your guide to intelligent dental care
- Device Watch (7/04): Your guide to questionable medical devices
- Diet Scam Watch (11/04): Your guide to weight-control schemes and ripoffs
- Fibromyalgia Watch (1/11): Guide to the fibromyalgia marketplace
- Homeowatch (11/01): Your skeptical guide to homeopathic history, theories, and practices
- Infomercial Watch (7/04): A critical view of the health infomercial marketplace
- Internet Health Pilot (1/02): Your gateway to reliable health information
- Mental Health Watch (7/04): Your guide to the mental help marketplace
- MLM Watch (1/99): The skeptical guide to multilevel marketing
- Naturowatch (6/03): The skeptical guide to naturopathic history, theories, and practices
- NCCAM Watch (11/05): An antidote to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
- Nutriwatch (3/00): Your guide to sensible nutrition
- Pharmwatch (8/05): Your guide to the drug marketplace and lower costs
Service Providers for the Web sites
- Volunteer experts review articles upon request.
- Attorney Michael K. Botts, Esq., of Alexandria, Virginia, provides legal services.
- The web-page design was developed by Marty Mapes of Boulder Information Services and redesigned in 2020 by CFI’s Marc Kreidler
- Dr. Barrett’s son Daniel Barrett, a software engineer, provides general technical support.
- Gina Smith of CabbageTree Solutions transcribes audio and video recordings.
- OnlyMyEmail provides SPAM protection.