FDA: Avoid fake 'miracle' cancer treatments sold on internet

Legitimate medical products such as drugs and devices meant to treat cancer must gain FDA approval or clearance before they are marketed and sold. Take asparagus. Some evidence has suggested that the health benefits of asparagus may include preventing or fighting cancer. The products have been marketed and sold without FDA approval, often on the Internet and social media platforms.

Numerous treatments are touted with illegal claims, such as "miraculously kills cancer cells in tumors", "more effective than chemotherapy", and "treats all forms of cancer", the FDA said.

According to the agency, these companies dishonored the rules of Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act which states that the companies have to prove to the FDA that the drugs they are supplying are safe and effective.

In April 2017, the FDA sent out warning letters to 14 companies, advising them to change or remove the fraudulent claims on their websites. Unfortunately, rogue operations exploiting those fears peddle untested and potentially unsafe products, particularly on the internet.

US regulators are warning consumers to avoid 65 bogus products hawked on the internet with false claims that they can cure, treat or preve...

The agency encourages consumers and those involved in the healthcare profession to voluntarily report any serious adverse event connected with these products to FDA through MedWatch.

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.

Among the violators was a company selling skin cancer "treatment" in the form of a lotion; an herbal blend that claims to fight cancer, hepatitis and AIDS; and a pill that claims to undo the effects of alcohol on the body. "Increasingly, bogus remedies claiming to cure cancer in cats and dogs are showing up online", Kornspan says. Companies that fail to come into compliance after receiving a warning letter can for example, face criminal prosecution and court-ordered decrees that require them to recall products and get written permission from FDA before resuming operations.

"The overarching point is that these products are untested, and some of the ingredients may present direct risk to the consumer's health or interact with any medications they might be taking", Humbert said. "There can be a great temptation to jump at anything that appears to offer a chance for a cure".

  • Delores Daniels