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FDA Warns Companies to Stop Selling Fake Cancer Cures
Date:6/17/2008

Fraudulent products present a safety hazard to the public, agency says

TUESDAY, June 17 (HealthDay News) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has sent letters warning more than two dozen companies to stop selling fraudulent products that claim to prevent or cure cancer.

The agency is also cautioning consumers not to buy or use these products, which include tablets, teas, tonics, black salves, and creams, and are sold under various names on the Internet.

"Health fraud has been around for years, and it is a cruel form of greed," David Elder, director of FDA's Office of Enforcement in the Office of Regulatory Affairs, said during a morning teleconference Tuesday. "Fraud involving cancer treatments can be especially heartbreaking."

The warning letters, sent to 23 U.S. companies and one Canadian and one Australian company, cover 125 unapproved products with labeling claims to cure, treat or prevent cancer. "These claims are unproven, unreliable, and they are unkind to the patient who is seeking help," Elder said.

Elder said the FDA is concerned that some of the products present a safety hazard to consumers. "Others can interfere with medicines that a patient has already taken. And they could be used to forgo medically acceptable treatment plans," he said.

The bogus cures include ingredients such as bloodroot, shark cartilage, coral calcium, cesium, ellagic acid, Cat's Claw, an herbal tea called Essiac, and mushrooms such as Agaricus Blazeii, Shitake, Maitake, and Reishi, the FDA said.

"These products pose either a direct health risk to consumers because the products themselves can cause harm, or a serious indirect health risk because the products are marketed for a serious disease, in this case cancer," Michael Levy, director of FDA's Division of New Drugs and Labeling Compliance in the Office of Compliance, said during the teleconference.

For example, so-called black sa
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