FDA sends warning letters over cancer cure claims

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced it had mailed warning letters to 23 U.S. companies and two foreign individuals marketing a wide range of products fraudulently claiming to prevent and cure cancer.

“Although promotions of bogus cancer ‘cures’ have always been a problem, the Internet has provided a mechanism for them to flourish,” stated 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 also warned 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 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.

Examples of fraudulent claims for these products include:

  • “Treats all forms of cancer”
  • “Causes cancer cells to commit suicide!”
  • “80 percent 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”

Those companies and individuals warned, the complete list of fake cancer ‘cure’ products and their manufacturers along with a consumer article on health scams can be found at www.fda.gov/cder/news/fakecancercures.htm.

The Warning Letters are part of the FDA’s ongoing efforts, in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission 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. Earlier this year, FTC sent Warning Letters to 112 Web sites falsely promoting cancer “treatments” and referred several others to foreign authorities.

Parties that fail to properly resolve violations cited in Warning Letters are subject to enforcement action up to and including seizure of illegal products, injunction, and possible criminal prosecution.

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