Suckers (book)

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Suckers: How alternative medicine makes fools of us all
Suckers Cover.jpg
AuthorRose Shapiro
CountryUnited Kingdom
SubjectAlternative medicine
PublisherHarvill Secker
Publication date

Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All is a book about alternative medicine written by author and health journalist Rose Shapiro. It was published by Harvill Secker in 2008. It covers very similar ground to Simon Singh and Edzard Ernst's book Trick or Treatment?, but is written in a more journalistic and polemical style. It provides substantial detail regarding alternative treatments offered to cancer patients.

After reviewing the research into a variety of alternative treatments, Shapiro concludes that:

Homeopathy has no place in evidence-based healthcare and should not be provided by the NHS. Alternative medicine should also be subject to the same strictures as the pharmaceutical industry and not be allowed to sidestep regulation by calling its medicaments 'food supplements'. The Cancer Act must be more frequently enforced and revised to protect the sick and desperate from greedy cancer quacks. And our universities should not receive government subsidies to enable them to teach supernatural nonsense masquerading as science.


The Herald said that "Shapiro's polemic traces the origins of many of these practices in an attempt to expose much of the pseudo-scientific quackery",[citation needed] while The Guardian called it a "vigorous polemic"[2] and said Shapiro's writing was "adept"[3] and The Daily Telegraph said that "Shapiro expertly describes the pathology of medical counter knowledge".[4] Natalie Haynes, writing in New Humanist, called it an "excellent book."[5]


  1. ^ Shapiro, Rose (2008). Suckers : How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools of Us All. London: Harvill Secker. p. 258. ISBN 978-1-84655-028-7.
  2. ^ Poole, Steven (9 February 2008). "Quack work". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  3. ^ Laing, Olivia (3 May 2008). "Quacks on the rack (review of Suckers)". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 April 2016.
  4. ^ Thompson, Damien (11 February 2008). "Making quackery credible". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  5. ^ Haynes, Natalie (4 March 2008). "Suckers: How Alternative Medicine Makes Fools Of Us All by Rose Shapiro". New Humanist. Retrieved 10 April 2016.