FDA warns about illegally sold cancer treatments

The FDA said fraudulent cancer cures are often advertised as "natural treatments".

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to 14 companies that are illegally selling products with false claims of preventing, diagnosing, treating or curing cancer.

In the past 10 years, more than 90 letters have been issued by FDA warning companies that market hundreds of fake products in their stores, websites, and on social media sites for cancer cure claims, as a part of FDA's efforts to safeguard consumers from frauds related to cancer health.

These products were mostly sold on websites or social media platforms and have not been reviewed by FDA for safety and efficacy. The FDA says on top of not working, they can be risky to both people and pets.

The FDA also advises consumers to speak with their doctors about the best ways to prevent, diagnose and treat cancer. A DoctorVicks.com product description of a vitamin (Freeda Vitamins Garlic 400 mg) referenced by FDA in its warning letter-and accessed Wednesday by INSIDER-raised a red flag for an industry lawyer. "Cancer requires the supervision of a licensed health care provider". The agency said the product wasn't approved for either humans or animals.

Ashley and Stearn write: 'The message to consumers is this: These products are untested.

The FDA has given the companies 15 days to fix their violations, or submit a plan on how these errors will be corrected.

"Unfortunately, rogue operations exploiting those fears peddle untested and potentially unsafe products, particularly on the internet", write Donald Ashley, director of the Office of Compliance at the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and Douglas Stearn, director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations in the Office of Regulatory Affairs. Failure to correct the violations promptly may result in legal action, including product seizure, injunction, and criminal prosecution.

However, disclaimers (like the one above) aren't sufficient to comply with FDA regulations, if a false claim is made, FDA explained. "You can't say garlic will prevent cancer, and then right underneath it, say, 'We don't intend this product be used to prevent cancer'". Asked to respond to the warning letter, a man at the company who identified himself as "Eric" declined to comment.

"That either means that they had good advice and someone told them, 'Hey, stop doing this until they get it right, ' or they decided, 'Uh oh, they caught us; I guess we better change our name and move on to something else, '" Prochnow said.

  • Santos West