Doctor Who?

Diagnosing Medical Fraud May Require a Second Opinion

"A power struggle has been going on for decades between those who have the power and the insurgents," Chowka says. "Give people the benefit of the doubt," he adds, calling for an end to "medical McCarthyism." "We no longer need a nanny state or a government-appointed watchdog to filter information to us." Yet Eng emphasizes that interactive media has a unique ability to "influence behavior change"— thus the need for caution. "They tailor information and interactions to the individual," he said of Web sites. "In print media, there is some kind of vetting. In interactive, anyone or their brother can slap a Web page together."

That, Barrett argues, is where his site comes in. Consumers, he says, aren't qualified to judge for themselves and must choose sides. "The consumer has to decide who to trust. I think I'm needed, and I'm qualified," he says.

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