Every day consumers -- especially the elderly -- face a barrage of claims about health-related products and services. Often, it's very difficult to tell the difference between fact or fiction when it comes to selecting a health care product or service. A new booklet by the Federal Trade Commission and state Attorneys General can help consumers ask the right questions.
The new booklet, "Who Cares: Sources of Information About Health Care Products and Services," offers information to help consumers know how to avoid deceptive claims and who to contact about claims for alternative medicines or prescription drugs, complaints about nursing care facilities, and much more.
"When consumers are faced with important decisions about health care goods and services, the best prescription is information. This brochure is one important tool especially for the elderly to use to protect themselves from deception and fraud in this vitally important area," said Jodie Bernstein, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. "In addition," Bernstein added, "citizens who take the time to complain about questionable health care promotions to local, state or federal agencies are indispensible members of the law enforcement team. The few minutes a consumer takes to make a call or drop a line can save somebody else from a costly -- and maybe even life-threatening -- mistake."
"The delivery of quality and affordable health care is one of the major challenges facing our society, and health care decisions can be among the most complex and difficult for elders and their families," said Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, president of the National Association of Attorneys General. "This booklet provides elders and their families with the information they need to help make wise choices." To get your free copy of the booklet, call toll-free 1-800-226-9971.
If you believe that you have been misled or deceived by an advertisement for a health care product or service, or a medical procedure, contact your state Attorney General, or the Federal Trade Commission in Washington, D.C. or at one of its ten regional offices. Many Attorneys General have toll-free consumer hotlines. Check with your local directory assistance.
Copies of the booklet "Who Cares: Sources of Information About Health Care Products and Services" are also available free of charge from the FTC's Public Reference Branch, Room 130, 6th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580; 202-326-2222; TTY for the hearing impaired 1-866-653-4261. To find out the latest FTC news as it is announced, call the FTC's NewsPhone recording at 202-326-2710. FTC news releases, consumer and business brochures, and other materials also are available on the Internet at the FTC's World Wide Web Site at: http://www.ftc.gov