FDA Warns Individuals, Firms to Stop Selling Fake Cancer 'Cures'

Warning letters have been sent to 23 U.S. companies and two foreign individuals marketing a wide range of products fraudulently claiming to prevent and cure cancer, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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.

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 here.

"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, 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."

FDA urges consumers to consult their health care 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.

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"

Consumers and health care professionals are being asked to notify FDA of any complaints or problems associated with these products. These reports may be made to MedWatch, FDA's voluntary reporting program, by calling 800-FDA-1088, or electronically at www.fda.gov/medwatch/report.htm.

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