Fraudulent Diabetes "Cures" Lurking Online

Publication
Article
Internal Medicine World ReportDecember 2006
Volume 0
Issue 0

A joint initiative to stop deceptive online advertising and sales of dietary products misrepresented as "cures" or treatments for diabetes has been launched by the governments of the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

This campaign, by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the FDA, and government agencies in Mexico and Canada, has so far included approximately 180 warning letters and other advisories sent to online outlets in the 3 countries concerning the promotion of fraudulent products.

"We will not tolerate practices that raise false hopes and bilk consumers of precious healthcare dollars," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. "Diabetes requires effective treatments and aggressive management, not bogus and unproven products."

In addition, the FTC is launching a new consumer education campaign to educate patients on how to avoid phony diabetes "cures." One component is a "teaser" website available at www.wemarket4u.net/glucobate/index.html.

At first, the site appears to be advertising a "legitimate cure" for diabetes called Glucobate, but when patients click for more information on how to order the product, it instead reveals information on the misleading nature of this ad and how to avoid such phony cure-all ads in the future.

As part of the joint initiative, the FDA recently issued additional warning letters to 24 firms that are marketing dietary products claiming to treat, cure, prevent, or mitigate diabetes, including:

? Food Matrix Diabetes Pack (Annie Rose)

? Sportron's Diabetes FoodMatrix Pack (Brenda Albano)

? Beta Fast GXR Glucose Balance (David Goldberg)

? Pancreas Tonic 180 (Healing Edge Science)

? NyGymnema Herbal Blood Sugar Balance; Sweet Sunnah Black Seed

? Vitamin Research Products Biotin 10 mg; Vitamin Research Products Optimum D; and Vitamin Research Products GluControl (Nutricell).

See link to Warning Letters at www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/dialist.html.

The joint diabetes initiative to stop commercial sale of fraudulent therapies originated with a web surf for "hidden traps" by the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network. Using the results of the Internet sweep, the FTC sent warning letters for deceptive ads to 84 domestic and 7 Canadian websites targeting US consumers, and referred an additional 21 sites to foreign governments. As a result, about a quarter of the firms have already changed their claims or removed their pages from the Internet, and several others are in contact with the FTC.

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