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FDA Puts A Stop To Companies Selling Fraudulent Cancer Treatments

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The US Food and Drug Administration has started cracking down on companies that have been making false claims about curing cancer.

The agency has ordered 14 companies that deal everything from pills to creams to medical devices, saying that their products can cure various cancers. It has also issued a warning to consumers that these items – which include things like asparagus extract and exotic teas – have not been tested and may cause dangerous effects, The Washington Post reports.

If the companies on the list don’t desist, they will face possible product confiscations and criminal prosecution, the FDA warns. There are over five dozen unapproved products on the list that fraudulently claim to prevent, treat or cure cancer, in a violation of federal law.

Douglas Stearn,  director of the FDA’s Office of Enforcement and Import Operations, says,

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.

One of the companies, Sunstone, retails Essiac Tea. The Utah-based company says, “Cancer and AIDS sufferers or other ill people may wish to take 2 fluid ounces of the tea twice daily on an empty stomach.” Eight ounces of the tea amounts to $11, the FDA says.

Another product from Sunstone, Virxcan-X Salve, supposedly treats “liver congestion, arthritis, malignant growths, respiratory and urinary tract infection.” An ounce costs $34.

Nature’s Treasures in California, on the other hand, promotes “thermography” on its website, which uses an unapproved device called digital infrared thermal imaging to detect breast cancer. The company claims that “thermography is far more sensitive than mammography.”

The FDA has given the companies 15 days to fix their violations, or submit a plan on how these errors will be corrected. Since the violations are on marketing claims, the most probable fixes are changing the language on the ads.

Over 90 warning letters have been issues in 10 years to companies marketing such fraudulent products, the FDA adds. Sometimes, companies just move their products to other websites instead of addressing the warnings. Companies that ignore the letters will face further action, the FDA says.


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