Posted 21 December 2017
December 19, 2017
FDA Pursues Unproven Cancer Claims
Rebecca Voelker, MSJ
Four companies have received FDA warning letters for selling products online that agency officials said made unproven anticancer claims and contained a component of the marijuana plant.
The products reportedly contained cannabidiol (CBD), which isn’t FDA approved for any indication. Such products are marketed in a variety of forms including oil drops, capsules, syrup, tea, and topical lotion or cream. Selling unapproved products with unsubstantiated therapeutic claims violates the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and could harm patients, according to FDA officials.
Claims made on web pages, online stores, and social media touted the products’ abilities to combat tumor and cancer cells, make cancer cells “commit suicide” without killing other cells, and inhibit cell division and growth in certain types of cancer. Some of the products also were marketed as alternative or additional treatments for patients with Alzheimer disease or other serious illnesses.
“We don’t let companies market products that deliberately prey on sick people with baseless claims that their substance can shrink or cure cancer and we’re not going to look the other way on enforcing these principles when it comes to marijuana-containing products,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, said in a statement. Gottlieb also noted that unproven, illegally marketed products sometimes steer patients away from proven treatments that could prolong their lives.
The FDA sent warning letters related to more than 25 products to Greenroads Health of Pembroke Pines, Florida; Natural Alchemist of El Dorado Hills, California; That’s Natural! Marketing & Consulting of Pueblo, Colorado; and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
In the past 10 years the FDA has issued more than 90 warning letters, including a dozen this year, to companies that have marketed hundreds of products making fraudulent claims to treat cancer.