Marketing of Fake Cancer “Cures” Results in FDA Action Action 14 Companies

Federal regulators have sent warning letters to 14 different companies, which have been attempting to sell more than 65 products in the U.S. that claim to cure, diagnose, treat or prevent cancer, even though the claims are unproven or an outright fraud. 

The FDA issued a safety alert on April 25, warning consumers to avoid companies selling products claiming to offer miracle cancer “cures,” indicating that the agency has issued violation letters to the companies.

Among the 65 illegally sold items, products include pills, topical creams, ointments, oils, drops, syrups, teas and diagnostic items, like thermography devices. The agency is warning consumers about the products manufactured by the 14 companies based in the U.S.

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The agency warned that the products are marketed to cure, prevent, reverse or treat cancer, which may be enticing to consumers who are hopeful for help with their serious illness; however, these types of claims should be scrutinized. Consumers should instead seek medical advice from a trained doctor.

Selling products marketing to inhibit cancer cells, tumors or cure cancer is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which prevents companies from marketing and selling products that claim to “prevent, diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure disease without first demonstrating to the FDA that they are safe and effective for their labeled uses.”

The products are marketed and sold to consumers, without FDA approval, on websites and social media. They include items like Sour Sop Capsules, Vitalica, Smokeless Tobacco Cancer Treatment for Gums, and Lip Sores, Angiostop, Circulatory Detox and Support Syrup, and many others.

Many of these companies make illegal claims that their product “miraculously kills cancer cells in tumors,” is “more effective than chemotherapy,” or “treats all forms of cancer.” Most are marketed as safe, natural dietary supplements.

However, many of the products are not safe for consumer use, the FDA warns. They can also prevent many people from getting the potentially life-saving conventional medical diagnosis and treatment. Some can also interact with prescription drugs.

The FDA issued warning letters to all 14 companies, calling on the companies to respond to the violations, correct the violations and notify the agency as to how they plan to correct the violations. Failure to correct the violations may result in legal action, including product seizure, injunction and/or criminal prosecution.

The agency warns that patients should always consult their doctor concerning proper cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

The FDA noted that when violations and warning letters are issued, like in this case, many companies will stop selling the products or making the claims. However, many find alternative ways to sell the products directly to consumers. So consumers should be especially aware to only use products that have been proven to be effective.

“We encourage people to remain vigilant whether online or in a store, and avoid purchasing products marketed to treat cancer without any proof they will work,” said Douglas W. Stearn, director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs.


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