Monday, September 22, 2008

Quack hunting season is open - update

We've talked about how the US authorities have finally started cracking down on bogus cancer cures, including abroad. The FTC has also built a new website to try and warn potential customers about misleading claims and potential hazards of alternative therapies by giving helpful advice:

"# Natural doesn't always mean effective. Scammers take advantage of the feelings that can accompany a diagnosis of cancer. They promote unproven – and potentially dangerous – remedies like black salve, essiac tea, or laetrile with claims that the products are both “natural” and effective. But “natural” doesn’t mean either safe or effective when it comes to using these treatments for cancer. In fact, a product labeled “natural,” can be ineffective and even downright harmful.
# Bogus marketers often use trickery and vague language to take advantage of people. Testimonials on websites with ads for products that claim to cure or treat cancer can seem honest and heart-felt, but they can be completely fake: in fact, they may not disclose that actors or models have been paid to endorse the product. Even when testimonials come from people who have taken the product, personal stories aren’t reliable as evidence of effectiveness."

You can also report bogus cures straight to the FDA, and I know just the one who has been asking for it... Well the list has finally been made public and it includes such gems:

"Alexander Heckman d/b/a Omega Supply – Among the products this company marketed are laetrile, which can cause cyanide poisoning when taken orally at high doses; hydrazine sulphate, which is classified by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a potential carcinogen; and cloracesium, which contains celsium chloride. According to the complaint, in addition to making deceptive and false claims that these products are safe and that they effectively prevent, treat, and cure cancer, the respondents also made false claims that the products are scientifically proven to work.

Native Essence Herb Company – The products marketed by this company include herbal concoctions (Rene Caisse essiac tea blend and cat’s claw), the herb chaparral, and maitake mushrooms extracts. In 1992, the FDA classified chaparral as unsafe because of its “association with acute toxic hepatitis.” According to the complaint, the respondents made deceptive and false claims that these products are effective for treating and curing a variety of cancers, eliminating or shrinking tumors, and for preventing breast cancer."

Now come and tell me this industry doesn't need regulation...


Anonymous said...

Yes. And notice the striking resemblance to what the Competition Bureau has posted on its website under the title 'Project False Hope'.
But the fact is: After all the C-51 clamor, it turns out there is federal legislation already in place that should come down heavily on operations like the Canadian Cancer Research Group (CCRG) and its offspring Immune System Management (ISM). It's a clause in the Competition Act that prohibits the making of false claims.
But the Competition Bureau feels it's not able to prosecute. Go figure.