The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on individuals and companies that market treatment products while fraudulently
claiming them to be effective at preventing, treating or curing cancer. The FDA, a federal agency in the US government's executive Department of
Health and Human Services, announced yesterday, 17th June, that it had sent "warning letters" to 23 US firms and two foreign individuals.
The FDA said the warning letters were part of a concerted effort with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Canadian government agencies to stop fraudulently marketed products from reaching consumers. The action follows a series of consumer complaints and a search on the Internet carried out by the FDA, the FTC and members of the Mexico - United States - Canada Health Fraud Working Group, for fraudulent cancer products.
According to information on the federal agency's website, the FDA has also referred several other fraudulent sellers to foreign authorities.
FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, Margaret O'K Glavin, said:
"Although promotions of bogus cancer 'cures' have always been a problem, the Internet has provided a mechanism for them to flourish."
"These warning letters are an important step to ensure that consumers do not become the victim of false 'cures' that may cause greater harm to their health."
All the warning letters, which detailed quotes of the "false claims" made by the firms and individuals concerned can be found at:
North American consumers should be careful about using or buying such products, on sale via the Internet under a variety of names, said the FDA. These include tablets, teas, "black salves", tonics and creams. They should also talk to their health care provider about stopping use of any of these products and seek medical attention if they have experienced any side effects.
For a list of "125 Fake Cancer Cures" that consumers should avoid, go to this FDA web page:
The FDA said the products contain a number of unapproved compounds that claim to cure, treat, lessen, or even prevent disease; although they carry labels making such claims, they have not been approved for these uses and are therefore in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The products contain a range of ingredients, such as:
"Bloodroot, shark cartilage, coral calcium, cesium, ellagic acid, Cat's Claw, an herbal tea called Essiac, and mushroom varieties such as Agaricus Blazeii, Shitake, Maitake, and Reishi".
Here are some examples of the fraudulent claims being made about these products:
- "Treats all forms of cancer"
- "Skin cancers disappear"
- "Shrinks malignant tumors"
- "Target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone"
- "Avoid painful surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or other conventional treatments"
- "Causes cancer cells to commit suicide!"
- "80 per cent more effective than the world's number one cancer drug"
If you, as either a consumer or healthcare professional have any complaints or problems with these products, the FDA asks that you notify them via the MedWatch voluntary reporting system, either electronically at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm or by calling 800-FDA-1088.
Click here for FDA.
Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD