Fraudulent Cancer Meds Called Out for False Promises

The FDA is finally cracking down on products available for retail sale online that falsely claim to cure, treat, or prevent cancer even though they are not agency-approved drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally cracking down on products available for retail sale online that falsely claim to cure, treat, or prevent cancer even though they are not agency-approved drugs.

The FDA has sent warning letters to companies marketing the creams, supplements, and other products, many of which went to domestic companies. FDA officials said the statements made about these products are dangerous because they could prevent a patient from seeking proper treatment for cancer. They could also harm a cancer patient by interacting with other drugs the patient is taking. The letters criticized unproven claims made about these products, including the ability to “destroy the enzyme on DNA responsible for cancer cells.”

Director for the agency’s new drugs division, Michael Levy, remarked that the FDA is concerned that consumers will purchase these products on the Internet and use them in place of products that have been proven safe and effective.

The ingredients of these unproven treatments include bloodroot, shark cartilage, coral calcium, cesium, ellagic acid, and a variety of mushrooms, among other products. Officials said that if the warnings are not heeded, the FDA will take action. They also warn consumers of specific cancer drug fraud, citing the following claims as warning signs that should act as red flags for consumers purchasing products online:

  • Treats all forms of cancer
  • Skin cancers disappear
  • Shrinks malignant tumors
  • Non-toxic
  • Doesn't make you sick
  • Avoid painful surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or other conventional treatments
  • Treat Non Melanoma Skin Cancers easily and safely

The FDA has teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to form a task force called Operation Gray Lord in an effort to more effectively pursue and prosecute those illegally selling drugs on the Internet.

Consumers can report claims of unlawful sales of medical products on the Web at http://www.fda.gov/oc/buyonline/buyonlineform.htm.