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Eval Health Prof. 2009 Dec;32(4):343-8. doi: 10.1177/0163278709346814. Epub 2009 Nov 18.

In the interest of all who value their purse and their health: a brief history of the ''Vereniging tegen de Kwakzalverij''--Society Against Quackery--of the Netherlands.

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  • 1Dutch Society Against Quackery, Netherlands.


Discontentment with the massive violations of the influential Dutch Prime Minister's (Johan Rudolf Thorbecke) health laws led to the foundation of the Dutch Society Against Quackery, in 1880. Within a few years, the Society had more than 1,100 members. Initially, quackery mostly consisted of the unauthorized practice of medicine and the peddling of industrially manufactured ''secret remedies.'' Since the 50s however, the energy of the society focused mainly on magnetizers, especially after they gained support from the field of parapsychology, lay manipulators of the back and herb doctors. The most important object of the society since 1980 has been the fight against the so-called alternative medicine, of which Chinese acupuncture, homeopathy, manipulative therapy, anthroposophical medicine, and naturopathy are prominent targets. Despite numerous costly lawsuits, the society still survives and is probably the oldest as well as the largest of its kind in the world.

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