We are bombarded with so much information when first diagnosed, some "cures" sound too good to be true.They are.
Released by the Federal Trade Commission Friday, September 19, 2008
Feds Target Bogus Cancer CuresThe Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States is cracking down on companies and individuals who through deceptive advertisements say their products cure or treat cancer while offering either no proof, or quoting false clinical evidence in support of their claims. The FTC said it had invoked 11 law enforcement actions under the FTC Act that bars deceptive claims.
The products affected include "essiac teas and other herbal mixtures, laetrile, black salve (a corrosive ointment), and mushroom extracts" said the FTC in a press statement released on Thursday.
Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, Lydia Parkes, said:
"There is no credible scientific evidence that any of the products marketed by these companies can prevent, cure, or treat cancer of any kind."
6 of the 11 complaints are expected to be resolved by proposed settlements, the others will be prosecuted.
All the companies and persons involved are required to tell customers who bought the affected products that there is no scientific evidence of their efficacy in treating or curing cancer and they should see their doctor about it.
Parnes said many of the products are "scams", and consumers should talk to their doctor about any treatment they are considering before they take it.
"When you're battling cancer, the last thing you need is a scam," said Parnes.
The crackdown started in June 2007 with a sweep of the Internet by the FTC, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Canada's Competition Bureau. The agencies emailed warning letters to 112 website between August 2007 and January 2008, which caused 30 sites to close or remove the unfounded claims. The ones that did not do this were then reviewed again to decide whether they should be prosecuted under the law or referred either to the FDA or the Competition Bureau.
The FDA sent warning letters to 23 companies in the US and 2 individuals outside the US, stating that their products were in violation of the US federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act because they were claiming they could "cure, treat, mitigate or prevent cancer", and were not proven to be safe or effective as per their label.
The Competition Bureau in Canada also sent similar warning letter to companies in Canada.
The FTC said nearly all the companies have now corrected their advertising material and the agency will take further enforcement action to pursue the rest.
The companies and products involved include:
- Alexander Heckman d/b/a Omega Supply: laetrile (can cause cyanide poisoning at high doses); hydrazine sulphate (a potential carcinogen); cloracesium (contains celsium chloride). In this case the company is accused of making making false claims that the products prevent, treat and cure cancer, and also that scientific evidence exists to support these claims.
- Native Essence Herb Company: herbal concoctions (Rene Caisse essiac tea blend and cat's claw), the herb chaparral (classified as unsafe by the FDA in 1992 because of links to toxic hepatitis), and maitake mushrooms extracts. The company is accused of making false claims that these products treat and cure various cancers, shrink or eliminate tumors and prevent breast cancer.
- Daniel Chapter One: various herbal formulations plus shark cartilage. This company is accused of claiming the products prevent, treat and cure cancer and that their herbal products mitigate the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy.
- Gemtronics, Inc: RAAX11 (made of chrysobalanus icaco, a derivative from a tropical bush, and agaricus, a medicinal mushroom). This company is accused of falsely claiming the product prevents, treats and cures cancer, and that there is scientific proof of this.
- Mary T. Spohn d/b/a Herbs for Cancer: various types of Chinese herbal teas. Accused of falsely claiming they fight 16 different types of cancer. Another type of blended tea claimed to be a "special formula" for "cancers not our list". Also accused of claiming scientific evidence exists of the effectiveness of the products.
- Nu-Gen Nutrition, Inc: cantron (electrolyte liquid), apricot seeds (containing laetrile) marketed as treatments and cures for various cancers. The company has agreed a settlement based on sales of the products, pending outcome of financial investigation.
- Westberry Enterprises, Inc: the FTC said the company marketed "herbal tea containing burdock root, sheep sorrel, slippery elm bark, and Turkish rhubarb root; melatonin; a woody vine found in the jungles of Latin America that is known as cat's claw; saltwater blue-green algae; and a mixture of roots, leaves, and barks from various plant". They were accused of claiming these products could treat and cure various types of cancer. They have also agreed to pay a settlement based on product sales that is pending outcome of a financial investigation.
- Jim Clark's All Natural Cancer Therapy: marketed metabolic therapy products (laetrile, apricot seeds, digestive enzymes, okra-pepsin-E3, and coral calcium) claimed to prevent, treat and cure various types of cancer. The two individuals concerned have agreed to pay a settlement, which is pending outcome of financial investigation.
- Bioque Technologies, Inc: extract from the soursop or guanabana tropical fruit tree, and another product, Serum GV. Their advertisements claimed these could prevent and treat melanoma. They have agreed a settlement to pay the full amount of sales of these products in redress.
- Holly A. Bacon d/b/a Cleansing Time Pro: black salve (a corrosive in tablet and salve form that has been reported to cause severe burns and permanent scarring in high concentrations). The organization is accused of claiming that either form of the product can prevent, treat and cure various types of cancer, and Holly A Bacon did not reveal that she, the owner of the company, was the "satisfied user" quoted in the advertisements. Other claims made for the product, said the FTC, include ability to treat and cure viral infections such as HIV, SARS and Avian Flu.
- Premium-essiac-tea-4less: essiac tea. The organization is accused of claiming the product was an effective treatment for cancer, AIDS, ulcers, hepatitis C; and many other diseases. According to the FTC, their advertising recommended that "a daily intake based on whether the consumer is well, sick with cancer or another disease, trying to prevent a relapse of cancer or another disease, or currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiation."