Illegal Cancer Drugs Being Sold, FDA Warns


FDA takes action against 65 products that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer.

The FDA recently issued warning letters to 14 companies illegally selling cancer treatments in the United States, according to a release. These companies have been selling more than 65 products that falsely claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure cancer.

These fraudulent drugs are being sold without FDA approval, mainly online and social media platforms, the FDA reported.

Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, it is illegal to sell products that claim to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure diseases without the FDA’s authorization that deems the products safe and effective.

The companies who violated the law have been selling pills, creams, ointments, oils, drops, syrups, teas, and diagnostics without FDA approval. These companies have been marketing the products for use by humans and pets that make unproven claims the treatment will prevent, reverse or cure cancer, kill cancer cells or tumors, and other anti-cancer claims, according to the release.

The FDA is requesting responses from the identified companies that outline how the violations will be remedied. Failure to correct the noted violations may result in product seizure, injunction, and/or criminal prosecution, according to the FDA.

Over the past 10 years, the FDA has issued more than 90 letters to companies that market fraudulent anti-cancer claims. While many companies have ceased selling the products, unsafe and unapproved products continue to be sold online and in stores.

The FDA continuously monitors and takes action against companies that promote and sell unproven drugs to minimize dangers faced by consumers, according to the release.

In January 2017, the FDA issued a warning for patients to avoid use of the drug PNC-27, which is marketed as an effective cure for cancer. The FDA has not issued an approval for the drug and it is not indicated to treat any conditions.

This warning came to light after the FDA discovered Variovorax paradoxus in an inhalable form of the drug. Contaminated products can lead to serious adverse events that may result in death, the FDA stated.

The FDA reminds physicians and patients that adverse events can be reported to the agency’s MedWatch program.

“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,” said Douglas W. Stearn, director of the Office of Enforcement and Import Operations in the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs. “We encourage people to remain vigilant whether online or in a store, and avoid purchasing products marketed to treat cancer without any proof they will work. Patients should consult a health care professional about proper prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer.”

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