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Hormones- The Same Regardless Of Packaging

Experts are worried over the unfettered sale of hormone replacement products claiming to be safe and natural alternatives to the ones prescribed// by doctors and tagged with the warnings of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and the like.

In 2005, officials of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), had found around 34 websites guilty of violating FTC rules against the sale of such products without evidence of claims and as well as federal permission. According to them, it is illegal for such producers to assert that their hormone products prevent or treat cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis or other health problems.

Of late, FTC investigations have revealed that 19 of those sites are still selling the ''natural'' hormone creams and sprays by citing unsupported claims for the products' benefits.

Five years ago, an initiative study found that replacement hormones made by drug companies raised the risk of heart attacks, breast cancer and strokes. Research published this week offered the strongest evidence yet that the hormones can raise the risk of breast cancer and are tied to a slightly higher risk of ovarian cancer.

According to Eileen Harrington, deputy director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection, many of the other websites reviewed have modified or removed the objectionable claims. She says the agency is following up with the companies that did not make such changes. 'We could have moved faster here and we should have,' Harrington was quoted.

The committee's top Republican, Sen. Gordon Smith held a hearing to spur action by the FTC and Food and Drug Administration, and increase federal oversight. At issue are hormones that are custom mixed or compounded by specialized pharmacies according to a doctor's prescription.

'The FDA needs to step it up and so does the FTC,' Smith told reporters.

The FDA has also warned some websites that are selling hormone products, according to Dr. Steven Galso
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