Illegal Cancer Treatments: FDA Warning – Fraudulent Claims of Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention or Cure

AUDIENCE: Oncology, Patient, Consumer

ISSUE: FDA issued warning letters addressed to 14 U.S.-based companies illegally selling more than 65 products that fraudulently claim to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure cancer.

It is a violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to market and sell products that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure diseases without first demonstrating to the FDA that they are safe and effective for their labeled uses.  The illegally sold products cited in the warning letters include a variety of product types, such as pills, topical creams, ointments, oils, drops, syrups, teas and diagnostics (such as thermography devices).  They include products marketed for use by humans or pets that make illegal, unproven claims regarding preventing, reversing or curing cancer, killing/inhibiting cancer cells or tumors, or other similar anti-cancer claims. See the list of illegally sold cancer treatments.

BACKGROUND: The products are marketed and sold without FDA approval, most commonly on websites and social media platforms.

RECOMMENDATION:  Consumers should not use these or similar unproven products because they may be unsafe and could prevent a person from seeking an appropriate and potentially life-saving cancer diagnosis or treatment.  Avoid purchasing products marketed to treat cancer without any proof they will work. Patients should consult with their health care professional about proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

REFERENCE:  FDA MedWatch reporting; 25 APR 2017

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