Dr. Stephen Barrett’s famed Quackwatch.org website is now a part of the Center for Inquiry (CFI).
For many years, Quackwatch.org and its related websites have been an indispensable and trusted resource in the fight to expose the fraud of health-related pseudoscience and fake medicine. Quackwatch houses an exhaustive array of information, advice, and news for consumers, activists, media, regulatory agencies, and health professionals. Most of the sites are topic-specific and focus on such subjects as diet fads, naturopathy, acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, phony cancer treatments, and questionable medical devices.
To ensure that the information remains available, Quackwatch has become part of CFI, which will maintain its sites and receive Dr. Barrett’s research library later this year. Barrett, a physician and longtime fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), started the site decades ago to alert consumers to quackery and other medical misinformation.
CFI is home to Skeptical Inquirer magazine and CSI, which seeks to promote science-based skepticism and an end to pseudoscience wherever it arises.
“Dr. Barrett’s contribution to the fight against the fraud of fake medicine and snake oil cannot be overstated,” said Robyn E. Blumner, president and CEO of CFI. “The Quackwatch network has been an invaluable source for evidence-based evaluations of pseudoscientific claims for a generation, and we are proud that it will now be part of the CFI family.”
Quackwatch is an outgrowth of Barrett’s anti-quackery activities that began with the formation of a nonprofit that was incorporated in 1970 as the Lehigh Valley Committee Against Health Fraud (Allentown, Pennsylvania). In 1997, as the internet developed, Barrett changed the corporation’s name to Quackwatch, Inc., and began developing a worldwide network of volunteers and expert advisors. In 2008, after Barrett moved to North Carolina, Quackwatch, Inc., was dissolved and is no longer a legal entity. But Barrett has continued the same activities, and people throughout the world who share his concerns have continued to supply information and offers of help.
Since its founding, Quackwatch postings have been cited and recommended by innumerable news publications, medical organizations, media outlets, books, and journals. Barrett has also assisted with consumer-protection lawsuits and offered advice to victims of health-related fraud. He’s editor and lead author of the book The Health Robbers. He still publishes a free weekly email newsletter, Consumer Health Digest.
CFI is currently waging consumer-protection lawsuits against Walmart and CVS for their deceptive practices in the sale and marketing of homeopathic products. CFI has also been at the forefront of the push to strengthen vaccination requirements and prevent alternative medicine practitioners from being given primary care authority by state legislatures.
“CFI has always been committed to exposing the lies of unscientific treatments, from homeopathy to faith-healing, and with the rising influence of the anti-vaccine movement and celebrity ‘wellness’ hucksters, the mission we share with Dr. Barrett has never been more crucial,” said Blumner. “Quackwatch will have a very good home with us.”