Cracking Down on Fake Cancer Cures

The FDA announced today that they have sent letters to 25 companies to stop selling fake cancer cures. That is, things that the companies claim cure cancer, but have never been tested, or approved by the FDA. The FDA has a web-site with more information about this, and a sub-page that lists 125 Fake Cancer Cures.

I know the FDA gets lots of flack for not doing enough – and not doing it fast enough – I applaud the FDA for taking this action, and encourage them to do more because I have found the advertisement and selling of these non-medicines troubling for a long time.

Cancers are serious diseases by anyones definition, and real medical science is making great strides in developing better treatments and cures, and in overall improving the lives of people living with cancer – both through traditional drugs and biologics, as well as with complementary therapies. But those profiting from selling fake medicines are selling false hope.

I would like the FDA go after more of these people who are profiting from selling fake medicines marketed as cures for other diseases and conditions – particularly ones that may be for symptoms of serious conditions. For example, every time I see the plastic-faced grinning guy on TV hawking a non-FDA approved “natural male enhancement” product, I wonder about all the men who may still be too embarrassed to talk to their physician about their erectile dysfunction problem – which unknown to them is being caused by a serious medical problem, like cancer. And of course for men who are buying this stuff who don’t have ED, then it would be nice if they could talk to their physician about therapy to address the route causes of their feelings of sexual inadequacy.

But of course, the FDA currently has insufficient resources to cover all of it’s multiple priorities – which is why Congress and the Administration are discussing how to provide more funding. Until that happens, I hope the FDA continues being vigilant and stops as many of these purveyors of false hope as they can – at least so these people don’t get the idea that because the FDA’s resources are stretched a bit thin, that the FDA won’t bother them.

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