Exotic teas. Asparagus extract. topical creams. These are all products that have been receiving a lot of false praise as having “anti-cancer” properties, according to federal regulators who are trying to stop the practice.
Just last Tuesday, in a letter the FDA ordered 14 different companies to stop making bogus claims about their products or face liability and criminal prosecution in a warning letter. The letter looked at more than five dozen unapproved products that were said to prevent, treat or cure cancer. The items included pills, oils, ointments, teas as well as diagnostic devices.
“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 lifesaving cancer diagnosis or treatment,” said Douglas Stearn, director of the FDA’s Office of Enforcement and Import Operations.
One of the list of companies, sunstone, based in Pleasant Grove, Utah, makes a product called Essiac tea. On the website, it says that “cancer and AIDS sufferers or other ill people may wish to take 2 fluid ounces of the tea twice daily on an empty stomach,” Eight ounces of the tea costs $11, according to the firm’s website.
Their other product Virxcan- X Salve, is marketed for “liver congestion, arthritis, malignant growths, respiratory and urinary tract infection,” According to the FDA. The price is $34 for an ounce. When asked to respond to the letter, a man at Sunstone who identified himself as “Eric” declined the request to comment.
In the FDA’s letter to Nature’s treasures (based in Glendale, CA) they noted that the website of the company made this claim about their topical cream KR22 Oxicell: “If you (or your pet) are suffering from liver problems, cancer, arthritis, kidney disease or other inflammatory conditions, this product can really help.” The FDA said the product was not approved for animals or humans for that matter.
Company official Raya Shanazarian also declined the request to comment.
A biotech startup in los angeles was also cited by the FDA for saying that its asparagus extract “ should be taken by everyone for heart, cancer prevention.” The company also claims that their herbal blend “ Attacks cancer at the DNA level. This results in a more comprehensive cancer inhibition therapy.”
Ulysses Angulo, the owner of BioStar, said, “The only thing we can do is comply and remove the verbiage. It removes information for the public to make informed decisions about products that could help them.”
Overall the FDA gave these companies 15 days to correct these false claims or provide a plan on how they will correct them. Since the violations are mostly based on claims against their marketing verbiage, the most common fixes will be the removal of the heinous language. If the firms decide to ignore the request, they will face further action, which includes court injunctions on the sale of their products.
The FDA said it issued over 90 warning letters over the last 10 years to companies who have been falsely misrepresenting fraudulent products that make claims of wondrous remedies on their websites, social media and in stores. They acknowledged the fact that the warnings often just stop sales in the short term until they move their products to newer websites.