The Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters to 14 companies selling products claiming to cure or prevent cancer -- claims the agency says are bogus and misleading as well as potentially dangerous. The letters warn the companies that failure to remove the claims could lead to product seizure and criminal prosecution.
“A cancer diagnosis often provokes a sense of desperation," Donald D. Ashley, J.D., and Douglas Stearn, J.D., the FDA’s directors of the Office of Compliance and the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations wrote on the FDA website. “Unfortunately, rogue operations exploiting those fears peddle untested and potentially dangerous products, particularly on the internet.”
More than sixty products were called out by FDA, including herbal teas, creams, pills, and devices touted as diagnostic tools.
“These companies used slick ads, videos, and other sophisticated marketing techniques, including testimonials about miraculous outcomes, Ashley and Stearn noted. “Often a single product was promoted as a treatment or cure for multiple diseases in humans and animals. Hoping to skirt the law on a technicality, some sellers made false claims and then in small print provided a disclaimer that their products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.”
While over-the-counter supplements are not required to prove efficacy, the agency forbids certain language, specifically if it makes claims a product is a cure or preventative against diseases.
“Consumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially lifesaving cancer diagnosis or treatment,” said Stearn.
The companies have 15 days to either make the necessary adjustments to product labels, marketing materials, or website, or provide the FDA with detailed plans for correction.
“In one disturbing trend, the agency is seeing a rise in phony cancer treatments for pets,” notes the Washington Post.
"The message to consumers is this," notes Stearn and Ashley. "These products are untested. Some contain ingredients that may be a direct risk to your health. The ingredients may interact in a dangerous way with professionally-prescribed treatments. They are not a substitute for appropriate treatments. Using these products can waste your money, and, more importantly, endanger your health."
Letters were sent to AIE Pharmaceuticals, Amazing Sour Sop, BioStar Technology International, LLC, Caudill Seed & Warehouse, Doctor Vick's, Everything Herbs, Hawk Dok Natural Salve, Healing Within Products & Services, Inc., LifeVantage Corporation, Nature's Treasures, Inc., Oxygen Health Systems, Sunstone, The Vibrant Health Store, The Vitamin C Foundation.
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