“STOP,” the website trumpets, to the accompaniment of a black skull and crossbones grimacing against a red background.
If you have diabetes, “you WILL die”, it goes on.
“And it won’t be quietly in your sleep either. Getting rushed to the hospital while the paramedics break all of your ribs giving you CPR will be hell on earth. Spending your last moments with tubes, and pumps and ventilators in unbearable agony, you will wish you did something sooner.”
Well, happily, you can.
This website and others like it offer a – usually secret, but 100% reliable – cure for type 2 diabetes, a cure that the corrupt forces of Big Pharma and orthodox medicine have sought, out of greed and self-interest, to hide from desperate patients.
“Today I’ll prove once and for all how everything you’ve been taught about managing diabetes is DEAD WRONG,” claims another site. “I’ll tell you how to know if your doctor has been lying to you … But I’ll warn you, the $245 billion diabetes industry is furious that you’re watching this presentation right now.”
Of course, the people behind the miracle cures are not themselves in it for the money, but are motivated purely by the desire to help people.
That’s probably why when you try to click away from the sales pages on some sites, you can find yourself confronted by an increasingly desperate series of pop-up messages: “are you sure?”, “are you really sure?”, “how about if we make it even cheaper?”, “here’s a special, secret price just for today.”
“As the number of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow, illegally marketed products promising to prevent, treat and even cure diabetes are flooding the marketplace,” the FDA warns.
Among other supposed diabetes treatments, the agency is concerned about online spruiking of dietary supplements, alternative medicines such as ayurvedics, homeopathic products and the illegal marketing of prescription drugs “by fraudulent online pharmacies”.
Some of the miracle cure websites seem to be selling not much more than diet plans, which might even be useful (you can’t really tell what you’re going to get unless you’re prepared to put up the cash).
But you might wonder about the claims on some sites that even the most severe type 2 diabetes could be eliminated in less than 2 weeks.
Raising those kinds of hopes carries dangers of its own, including the possibility it might encourage people to walk away from medical supervision.
As the FDA points out, the real risk with many alternative products is that they can cause people to delay or abandon effective treatments, putting them at greater risk of developing complications down the track.
“People with chronic or incurable diseases may feel desperate and become easy targets,” the agency says, warning that, if a product sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
“Natural diabetes cure!”, “effective treatment to relieve all symptoms of diabetes!” and “lowers your blood sugar naturally!” are the kinds of claims the FDA says should alert consumers to a health scam.
I’d add overuse of exclamation marks to that list, along with the charlatans’ predilection for using as many different typefaces, font sizes and colours as you can cram on to a webpage.
But then what would I know! I’m just a tool of the evil pharmaceutical industry! And corrupt doctors! And I’m furious because I want people to STAY SICK, not get better using CHEAP and NATURAL alternatives!
Except for my own secret cure for everything, of course, which I’ll sell you today only for just $99.99. Oh, all right then, let’s make it $14.99, just for you …
Jane McCredie is a Sydney-based science and medicine writer.