I wonder, sometimes, about that little disclaimer you see everywhere in ads for herbal, homeopathic, and other quack medicines: “This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.”

One wonders what the FDA is for, if not to evaluate statements about how quack products can have positive effects beyond a placebo effect. After all, there’s a pretty significant harm if people buy a $20 bottle of snake oil.

But I suppose moreso than that I worry about the sort of person that buys such a product. If all it takes for us to believe that a product works is a spinning computer-animated DNA molecule in a slick TV ad, maybe the FDA doesn’t investigate those claims because there aren’t enough hours in the day.

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