Thursday, April 27, 2017

A warning about pills, ointments, drops, teas

Federal agency's order targets 14 companies for phony claims about curing various cancers

The Food and Drug Administration is cracking down on bogus claims about cancer cures.

According to a story by Laurie McGinley in The Washington Post this week, the FDA has ordered 14 companies to stop making such claims about "asparagus extract, exotic teas and topical creams for pets."

The order says if they don't stop, they may "face possible product seizures and criminal prosecution."

Or, at least, court injunctions of their products.

More than 65 unapproved products are covered in the order, "products that the companies touted as preventing, treating or curing cancer, a violation of federal law, the agency said."

Those items, the story notes, "include pills, ointments, oils, drops, teas and diagnostic devices."

Douglas Stearn
McGinley's piece quotes Douglas Stearn, director of the FDA's Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, as warning that "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."

The agency, the article continued, "gave the companies 15 days to correct the violations or provide a plan on how they will correct them."

FDA officials said they've "issued more than 90 warning letters in 10 years to companies marketing hundreds of fraudulent products making cancer claims on websites, on social media and in stores."

They acknowledged, however, that "while the warnings sometimes stopped the sales, the companies sometimes just moved the products to new websites."

A disturbing trend, the agency indicated, is "a rise in phony cancer treatments for pets" — dogs and cats mainly.

Want to learn how the FDA has dealt with other cancer claims? Check out "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers.

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