Quackwatch, Inc., which was a member of Consumer Federation of America from 1973 through 2003, is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct. Its primary focus is on quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere. Founded by Dr. Stephen Barrett in 1969 as the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud, it was incorporated in 1970. In 1997, it assumed its current name and began developing a worldwide network of volunteers and expert advisors. Our activities include:
- Investigating questionable claims
- Answering inquiries about products and services
- Advising quackery victims
- Distributing reliable publications
- Debunking pseudoscientific claims
- Reporting illegal marketing
- Assisting or generating consumer-protection lawsuits
- Improving the quality of health information on the Internet
- Attacking misleading advertising on the Internet
The Quackwatch Web site was launched in December 1996. Our other sites are:
- Acupuncture Watch (started 2/05): The skeptical guide to acupuncture history, 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
- 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
Dr. Barrett maintains these sites with help from many volunteers.
- Members of our medical advisory board review articles upon request.
- The Center for Inquiry provided the updated website design, server resources, and upkeep.
- Dr. Barrett’s son Daniel Barrett, a software engineer, provides general technical support.
- OnlyMyEmail provides SPAM protection.
Sources of Income
Founded in 1996 by Dr. Stephen Barrett, Quackwatch has grown into an international network dedicated to investigating and refuting medical frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct. The Quackwatch website houses an exhaustive library of information, advice, and news for consumers, activists, media, and medical professionals, relies on science and evidence to address extraordinary claims about so-called “alternative” medical treatments, remedies, and devices.
Quackwatch is now a program of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), an international nonprofit organization which works to foster a secular society based on reason, science, free inquiry, and humanist values. CFI is home to Skeptical Inquirer magazine and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which seeks to promote science-based skepticism and an end to pseudoscience wherever it arises.
The total cost of operating all of Quackwatch’s sites is approximately $7,000 per year. Quackwatch, Inc., has no salaried employees. It operates with minimal expense, funded mainly by small individual donations, commissions from sales on other sites to which we refer, and profits from the sale of publications. If its income falls below what is needed for the research, the rest comes out of Dr. Barrett’s pocket. Except for the sales commissions, neither Quackwatch nor Dr. Barrett has any financial tie to any commercial or industrial organization.
These donations will support research, writing, and legal actions that can protect many people from being misled.
This page was revised on February 20, 2020.