10 Most Deceptive and Lucrative Health Scams in History

We all live with the dream of never getting sick or needing serious medical treatment. The sad fact is that most of us, at some point in our lives, will run into medical trouble of some kind and it’s up to the doctors and specialists to take care of us. Unfortunately, some doctors and corporations take advantage of our misfortune and try to sell us bogus drugs or treat us with non-working treatments. Below are some of the worst health scams in history and just how the doctors and employees behind these companies managed to swindle you out of your money and out of your health. Prepare yourself to feel disgusted and outraged at what lengths some people go to just to make a quick buck.

#1 Sea Silver

Wouldn’t it be great if there was a medicine that cured everything? Seasilver was just that pill. “Doctors” touted the drug as a miracle and told customers that it cured over 650 different diseases including things like cancer and diabetes. Consumers bought into the sales dribble and spent millions of dollars only to face the reality of it not working. The supplement even went as far as to say that you could lose massive amounts of weight without any exercise at all. I suppose if you’re going to buy into the idea that a single pill can cure all of your ailments, you’ll also believe that you’ll lose half your body weight by snacking on Cheetos and watching Oprah.

#2 Ephedra

obese-manWarning! Weight Loss Doesn’t Exist Inside

Our obsession with our weight has of course led to a huge influx of over the counter weight loss drugs that do little to absolutely nothing to help with the problem of obesity. Ephedra made the bold claim that it would help consumers lose weight along with diet and exercise. Sounds good, right? Any good diet pill should be able to aid you in weight loss if you do things that facilitate the loss in the first place. The only problem with Ephedra is that not only did it not do a damn thing to help with losing weight (who thought it would?), it also raised blood pressure to alarming levels that could lead to strokes. Let’s just take solace in the fact that Ephedra is no longer on the market for unsuspecting infomercial watchers to buy at 4AM.

# 3 1-800 Numbers

Call in the Next Twenty Minutes and We’ll Take DOUBLE What We Would Normally Steal”

Here’s one to still look out for in your day to day life. After the passage of the health care reform in the United States, a whole series of ads sprung up on the television inviting consumers to take part in a limited time offer health plan. They played on the idea that people didn’t know what was in the new legislation and that they didn’t know what type of health plan they needed. Calling the number and talking to the representatives will end in you having a new health care plan that’s supposed to fit well with the newly proposed government plan, but in reality it’s just a scam. You’ll be swindled out of your money for a few years before you can get out of the plan and ultimately, it’s just bad news. Stay smart and talk to an actual health insurance provider about your options and not a call center representative making minimum wage.

#4 The Q-Ray Magnetic Bracelet


Here’s a winner of a product. How anyone thought this one was going to work is beyond me, but they still sold millions. Here we have a metal bracelet that was “ionized” through super secretive processes. The bracelet, when worn around your wrist, was supposed to relieve muscle pain and alleviate headaches. The only problem with this concept is that….it’s a metal bracelet. No matter how hard you wanted to believe in the product, it simply wasn’t going to do anything for your health except maybe lighten your wallet so you have faster lap times. The company that sold the Q-Ray bracelet offered a money back guarantee to all of its customers. That means that when you realized it was all a total lie, you could get your cash back. Too bad they never honored their warranties or picked up the phone when you tried to inquire about getting your dollars and sense back.

#5 Airborne

airborne-scamImmunity Pills? Hell, That Sounds Better than Viagra

It’s interesting to note that the most common disease in human history, the common cold, has yet to be cured. Airborne tried to capture that market by introducing an immunity booster that travelers could carry with them so that while in close contact with so many people, they wouldn’t get sick. The fact of the matter is that the product doesn’t do anything to aid your immune system in fighting of disease and it’s really all just a placebo effect. The company was sued a few years ago and settled for just over $20 million. But even after being proved a total scam, the product is still being sold in drug stores all across the country to people that are still convinced it does something to help them get through the day.

#6 Head-On

headonA Glue Stick to the Face

Who doesn’t remember the ridiculous commercials that the makers of Head-On rammed down our throats. The joke around the water cooler for days was, “Head On, apply directly to the forehead.” This glue stick looking contraption was supposed to cure headaches. The premise was that if you rubbed this stick of whatever it was on your forehead, your headaches would completely disappear. Turns out it was just a placebo and the company, because of threatened legal action, was forced to stop advertising their terrible product and pull it from the market. Good riddance.

#7 Ozone Treatment

ozone-treatmentBreathe Some Air and You’ll Be Better? Sign Me Up

You’ve probably heard the term “ozone layer” before. The ozone layer in our atmosphere protects us from harmful things that fly in from space. Well one company decided to take this miracle gas and apply it to humans too. Instead of shielding and protecting the Earth, the ozone treatment trend promised that inhaling ozone would cure diseases like HIV and cancer while enriching the blood supply in your body at the same time. You probably don’t have to keep reading to know this is all total nonsense. Breathing ozone does nothing for anyone except pose dangerous health risks. Ozone is considered, by the US Government, to be a harmful chemical that poses health dangers if handled incorrectly. It shouldn’t be tough to realize that inhaling ozone falls under the “handled incorrectly” category.

#8 Magnet Therapy

If you visited a mall at any point in the 1990’s, you were bound to see some shady looking character hawking magnet therapy. The concept is that by tracing your body with magnets, you would somehow make yourself feel better and get rid of any ailments you have. Because 99% of people have no idea how magnets work, the trend took off. It sounds great on paper but in practice, putting magnets and expecting it do something is like standing still and hoping to teleport just because you believe hard enough that it’ll work. There have been plenty of studies conducted over the past few years that prove that magnetic field lines have no effect on the human body. Too bad many people lost their money before these stunning revelations came out.

#9 Chelation Therapy

swine-flu-vacinePreventing Disease to Cause More? It’s All a Conspiracy I Tell You!

Here is one of the saddest cases of medical malpractice in recent years. Some people still believe the statements are true, and they’re a little hard to sway, but both the Center for Disease Control and the United States Government have evaluated the claims and proven them totally false. It is believed that children’s vaccines contain small levels of mercury and that enough mercury buildup in the body can lead to autism. While there has never been a direct link between autism and mercury levels in the blood, worried mothers across the globe stopped getting their children vaccinated for fear that they would end up autistic. The result? Diseases that were once prevented through the use of vaccines sprung up again and ran rampant until mothers decided that little to no risk of autism was much better than the diseases running wild.

#10 Cavitation Surgery

Finally, the last medical scam on our list. Just when you thought you were safe, there’s one more bullet to try and dodge. The last one seems pretty plausible, but don’t be fooled. The premise is that within our jaws, there are tiny blood vessels that carry blood through our face. When these blood vessels get blocked or clogged, the blood flow to our head and parts of our face gets knocked off balance and we experience pain. Dentists said that if we use a process called cavitation surgery in which doctors scrape parts of our jaw bone away to increase blood flow, we can alleviate stress and pain in the face. What’s the problem? It doesn’t work. Well, it works if your ultimate goal is to lose part of your jaw bone and not have any overall benefit. But it’s hard to imagine you wanting something like that.

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