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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is cracking down on teas, supplements, creams and other products that falsely claim to cure, treat or prevent cancer, even though they are not approved drugs.  Consumers were warned 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 agency sent 23 warning letters to companies and individuals marketing these products.

FDA noted that statements made about these products are dangerous because they could prevent a patient from seeking proper treatment for cancer.  They could also potentially harm a cancer patient by interacting with other drugs the patient is taking.  The letters criticized unproven claims made about these products including the ability to "destroy the enzyme on DNA responsible for cancer cells," and the power to "neutralize" carcinogens.  According to one of the FDA letters, a dubious product's website had a testimonial claiming it had cured a patient's skin cancer in three days.

The ingredients of these unproven treatments include bloodroot, shark cartilage, coral calcium, cesium, ellagic acid, and a variety of mushrooms among other products.  Officials said that if the warnings are not heeded, the agency could take action including seizure of the products and criminal prosecution.

Health fraud has been sadly been around for years, and it is a cruel form of greed.  Fraud involving cancer treatments can be especially heartless.

Source: FDA

{EDIT}  CNN have since reported on this issue too.

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10 Responses to “FDA warns about fake cancer cures”

  1. Joe

    What’s the matter with you guys at the FDA affraid something really might cure cancer and it won’t be YOUR drugs?

  2. Fleet Admiral

    I for one would rather have a natural cure ANYDAY over what comes out of the BS spewing mouth of big pharma. You’ve got to be kidding with their commercials, talking about developing rare forms of cancer if you take their crap drug just to cure a runny nose. Sue these bastards to hell. People have been recovering from cancer since the beginning of time on natural things. It’s just no one knows which one or many things it took to cure. Because I don’t think anyone living in 2000 BC had an ER with a radiation lab to rip apart the cells in their body. And for the record, Manuka honey among other forms DOES kill infections and viruses on the skin. It’s PROVEN in Australia hospitals.

  3. Rob

    Just because the FDA says it is untested doesn’t mean much. It just means that the FDA hasn’t tested it. But some of these natural cures or treatments really do work and have for centuries. YES, there are bogus claims out there but not all are bogus. I know, I was cured by a natural Japanese treatment and my mother-in-law is taking the same treatment for her oral cancer and she is getting better by the day. The Japanese know more about good health than most other countries, afterall they live the longest. They know much more about natural healing than the FDA. I AM NOT SAYING THAT THESE COMPANIES THAT THE FDA ARE GOING AFTER ARE LEGIT. I’m saying, Not all claims are false because the FDA says so. If they don’t study a claim, that doesn’t mean it is false or will not work. It means they haven’t studied it, that’s all. Besides the FDA doesn’t have a great safety record. Let’s think about that. The FDA can’t even tell us or protect us from Tomatoes that have made over 100 people sick, so far. And their biggest sin, in my opinion, is their roll in contributing to the 3rd leading cause of death in this country… The proper use of prescription drugs with so many negative side effects. This was reported by the JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (JAMA), which is a peer-reviewed medical journal published weekly and is the largest circulated medical journal in the world. So when everyone is criticizing the FDA for their safety record, their inability to keep our food safe and approving prescription drugs that kill so many Americans because of their dangerous negative side-effects, why should the FDA be cracking down on natural cancer cures and treatments? Shouldn’t they start with protecting the American people from what they have already approved? Or maybe they know that some of these natural cures or treatments actually work and they want to keep the American people ignorant of the truth. Until the FDA cleans up their own approved blunders, I wouldn’t deeply trust them.

  4. Ann Godridge

    As a user of complementary therapies, I do like to see that the FDA is enforcing the regulations which are in place to protect me as a consumer.
    I am also very impressed with the transparency – the FDA have made the details of each case available and as a consumer I can see for myself why these are described as false claims.

  5. Sally

    Joe, I think anyone (FDA, doctors, complementary therapists, patients etc) who finds a consistent everlasting cure for cancer is going to be very happy if it truly makes a difference to patients lives.
    Unfortunately, the panacea to disease has not yet been found.

  6. Sally

    Fleet Admiral: Many chemotherapies are actually extracts from natural plants so I don’t think whether a substance is natural or synthetic matters here. What does matter is safety, efficacy and quality of any agent you put in the body. Patients have a right to know what evidence there is for the product they might be taking, this applies as much to approved drugs as it does to herbal remedies. That leads to informed decision making.
    Manuka honey has indeed been shown to have antibiotic and anti-inflammatory properties, no doubt one day someone will extract the active ingredient and market it as a drug.
    I’m not sure that there is sufficient evidence from clinical data that alternative medicine has ‘cured’ cancer. No doubt some of them can alleviate symptoms to improve quality of life, but some diseases such as indolent NHL and ITP can resolve themselves naturally, or at least remain stabilised.

  7. Sally

    Ann: I liked the transparency too – it cuts both ways, in terms of therapies with dubious claims and also drugs with quality control problems, as illustrated by the recent heparin scare.

  8. Sally

    Rob: The FDA don’t test therapies, conventional or complementary, the companies hold the IP license do. The FDA’s job is to regulate and approve the applications to market the therapies, providing there is evidence that they are safe, effective and meet quality standards.
    So if anyone is unhappy that many alternative medicines lack sufficient evidence for their claims they should look at the companies promoting them, not the FDA.
    Making bogus promotional claims for any product without supporting data is wrong and unlikely to inspire consumer confidence in the product or the company marketing it.

  9. Steve H

    The worst thing of all, Sal, is how these charlatans hook in to a whole lot of other “alternative” charlatans who think that a positive attitude will stop you getting cancer, ergo that if you do succumb it’s your own fault. This is even more heartless, IMO, yet accepted as part of the belief structure of huge numbers of people who have so far been spared serious illness in their lives.
    To blame the sick for being ill is in my view the very last straw, the very greatest obscenity an idiot can commit.

  10. Sally

    Steve, I agree and I find it both sad and disillusional when when people propose all sorts of dodgy ideas from herbal infusions to positive thinking as the soul panacea for curing serious illnesses such as cancer. The invasiveness of ‘law of attraction’ type thinking is not going to get anyone anywhere in cases like this. It mostly leads to false hope and disillusionment.
    Some people need to stop and smell the roses first.

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