Medical science is one of the things that have actually brought us advances beyond our imagination. It has shown a direct correlation with increased quality of life, and not just for the rich. The advances trickle down to even the lower classes, directly as generic medication and procedures to indirectly like the effects of herd immunity.

Despite all these benefits, there is a cancer that keeps growing, undermining our already very shabby healthcare system. That cancer is quackery. We have people calling themselves “miracle workers” offering us unrealistic benefits for using their so-called medicines, with no actual research behind it.

To start with, there’s the very old “Hikmat” scam. They claim descent from the “Greek” principles, calling it “Unani” medicine. Despite there being some truth to their practices that has long since been disproved, refined or superseded by modern medical science, they continue to practice it. There are no statistics on the effectiveness of their treatments and they refuse to actually conduct any scientific studies on their treatments, citing secrets. You can see a lot of them with huge billboards and very busy waiting rooms, and many of them actually purchase airtime on local FM radios stations to air their programs. This is at best a dubious practice and at worst actively destructive. It needs to be regulated and shutdown.

The second one that is so prevalent that you see actual doctors recommending it is Homeopathy. With its principles discredited long ago and not having stood the tests of science, there are still “Homeopathic Doctors”, claiming to be specialists and taking people’s money to essentially give them sugar pills and water in tiny bottles. They also claim to cure every disease under the sun, from Hepatitis to Diabetes, while claiming “No Side Effects”. Ironically, only their “No Side Effects” claim is true, since their medicines don’t contain any active ingredient other than sugar and water.

Other than that we have the newer forms, and one-shot charlatans that claim to fix everything that is wrong with your body. One of them brazenly claims that he can actually grow new pancreas!

These charlatans continue to con gullible people out of their hard earned money and cause incalculable damage to their health. They brazenly practice their “arts” despite there being clear legislation against quackery. It is time that this cancer be rooted out, once and for all, as part of a major overhaul of Pakistan’s healthcare system.