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Posted: June 24, 2008

FDA Cracks Down On Bogus Cancer Cures

A century ago, traveling peddlers would stop in towns to hawk their tonic as "good for what ails you." Now, these traveling medicine shows have moved to the Internet, promising cures from everything from baldness to cancer.

 

It's the so-called cancer cures that have gained the attention of the Food and Drug Administration, which has fired off warning letters to 23 US companies and two foreign individuals, marketing products fraudulently claiming to prevent and cure cancer.

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The FDA also warns North American consumers against using or purchasing the products, which include tablets, teas, tonics, black salves, and creams, and are sold under various names on the Internet. The FDA has published the complete list of fake cancer 'cure' products and their manufacturers along with a consumer article on health scams.

 

"Although promotions of bogus cancer 'cures' have always been a problem, the Internet has provided a mechanism for them to flourish," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "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."

 

The FDA urges consumers to consult their healthcare provider about discontinuing use of these products and to seek appropriate medical attention if they have experienced any adverse effects.

 

The products contain 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.

 

Because these products claim to cure, treat, mitigate or prevent disease, and these products have not been shown to be safe and effective for their labeled conditions of use, they are unapproved new drugs marketed in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, the agency said.

 

Examples of fraudulent claims for these products include:

 

• "Treats all forms of cancer"

• "Causes cancer cells to commit suicide!"

• "80% more effective than the world's number one cancer drug"

• "Skin cancers disappear"

• "Target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone"

• "Shrinks malignant tumors"

• "Avoid painful surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or other conventional treatments"

 

The warning letters are part of the FDA's ongoing efforts, in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Canadian government agencies, to prevent deceptive products from reaching consumers. The initiative originated from consumer complaints and a web search for fraudulent cancer products conducted by the FDA, FTC and members of the Mexico-United States-Canada Health Fraud Working Group.

 

(Article courtesy of ConsumerAffairs.com)

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