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Monday 24th October 2016

Warning letters to internet sellers

20th June 2008

The drug regulatory body in the United States has begun a crackdown on websites which purport to sell cures for cancer.


The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has warned 25 companies to stop selling the remedies, which the government believes could disrupt legitimate treatment and harm vulnerable patients.

In an announcement that they were investigating fake cancer remedies, FDA officials said they had sent warning letters to companies selling 125 tablets, lotions and tonics on the internet which claimed to cure various types of cancer.

If the companies fail to stop marketing the products with 15 days, they could face seizure of their products and prosecution.

Officials warn that some products may present a direct safety hazard, while others could potentially interfere with medicines that a patient is already taking.

David Elder, director of the FDA's office of enforcement, said the fraudulent sales represented a cruel form of greed.

One of the products for sale online, Black Salve, was shown to be able to burn away healthy skin. The products were also seen as harmful because they might prevent patients from seeking effective treatment from mainstream healthcare providers.

The FDA was given the power to bar sales of unproven products that might lead to injury or death in a law passed by Congress in 1938.

The internet age has brought new avenues for sellers of unproven remedies.

Canada and Mexico have recently issued warning letters, alongside the US Federal Trade Commission, to owners of 112 websites which were being used to sell untested remedies for cancer in the past year.


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