The Faces of Deceptive Healers: A Scoping Review of Titles and Traits Associated with Quacks across Regions
Keywords:Health threat, Medical fraud, Healthcare, Quackery, Quack, Drug
Abstract: Background: The progress in medical science and the increased accessibility of digital resources have enhanced the convenience for individuals in accessing appropriate treatments. Despite these advancements, quackery continues to persist as a global concern. Throughout history, people have been intrigued by miraculous treatments rooted in faith and trust theories. In ancient times, distinguishing between scientifically approved and unapproved medical practices posed challenges. Ever since medical practices have been taking place, service providers took advantage of people’s unawareness, exploiting patients for personal gain. Over time, in certain cultures and societies, their intentions became apparent, and they earned a reputation as deceivers in the medical field. The current research seeks to uncover the various traits utilized by quacks across different times and locations worldwide, aiming to expose their fraudulent practices.
Methodology: In this scoping review, the focus was on investigating various characteristics displayed by quacks during their practices. The study involved a comprehensive examination of 3740 published research articles and 400 pieces of gray literature such as websites of regulatory authorities, Acts, Laws. News items and reports which encompassed regulatory authority websites, news articles, and reports. From this extensive pool of sources, 45 articles and 4 excerpts were carefully chosen for in-depth analysis.
Result: The current study highlighted 90 terms used for quacks to define their characteristics. The data was analyzed and developed five different themes defining various traits according to the near association. The main theme covered the moral values of these practitioners followed by Modern quackery under complementary and alternative healthcare services, sorcery and mystic, ignorant of science, and contract to law.
Conclusion: Quackery, with its long-standing history, remains an ongoing health threat. Embracing modern technology, it utilizes the Internet and social media to propagate deceptive claims. Gaining insights into the traits of quacks is crucial for policymakers to address this issue effectively. Combating quackery necessitates heightened awareness, robust regulations, dissemination of authentic information and evidence-based healthcare involving all stakeholders.