HEALTH

FDA sends warning letters over cancer cure claims

BY Michael Johnsen

ROCKVILLE, Md. The Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced it had mailed warning letters to 23 U.S. companies and two foreign individuals marketing a wide range of products fraudulently claiming to prevent and cure cancer.

“Although promotions of bogus cancer ‘cures’ have always been a problem, the Internet has provided a mechanism for them to flourish,” stated Margaret O’K. Glavin, the FDA’s associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. “These warning letters are an important step to ensure that consumers do not become the victim of false ‘cures’ that may cause greater harm to their health.”

The FDA also warned North American consumers against using or purchasing the products, which include tablets, teas, tonics, black salves, and creams, and are sold under various names on the Internet.

The products contain ingredients such as bloodroot, shark cartilage, coral calcium, cesium, ellagic acid, Cat’s Claw, an herbal tea called Essiac, and mushroom varieties such as Agaricus Blazeii, Shitake, Maitake, and Reishi.

Examples of fraudulent claims for these products include:

  • “Treats all forms of cancer”
  • “Causes cancer cells to commit suicide!”
  • “80 percent more effective than the world’s number one cancer drug”
  • “Skin cancers disappear”
  • “Target cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone”
  • “Shrinks malignant tumors”
  • “Avoid painful surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or other conventional treatments”

Those companies and individuals warned, the complete list of fake cancer ‘cure’ products and their manufacturers along with a consumer article on health scams can be found at www.fda.gov/cder/news/fakecancercures.htm.

The Warning Letters are part of the FDA’s ongoing efforts, in collaboration with the Federal Trade Commission and Canadian government agencies, to prevent deceptive products from reaching consumers. The initiative originated from consumer complaints and a web search for fraudulent cancer products conducted by the FDA, FTC and members of the Mexico–United States–Canada Health Fraud Working Group. Earlier this year, FTC sent Warning Letters to 112 Web sites falsely promoting cancer “treatments” and referred several others to foreign authorities.

Parties that fail to properly resolve violations cited in Warning Letters are subject to enforcement action up to and including seizure of illegal products, injunction, and possible criminal prosecution.

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AMO, IER collaborate on eye care products

BY Michael Johnsen

SANTA ANA, Calif. Advanced Medical Optics on Monday announced a collaboration with the Institute for Eye Research to develop contact lens disinfectant and cleaning solutions and related products.

“IER’s world-class scientists and clinicians have had a major impact on the development of contact lenses and lens care technologies,” stated AMO executive vice president, research and development Leonard Borrmann. “We look forward to working closely with the IER on the development of next-generation contact lens solutions.”

“Through our collaboration with AMO, we will work to develop, test and deliver, through product innovation and education, the best in contact lens care products,” stated IER chief executive officer Brien Holden. “Our goal is to develop new, safer, better and more convenient initiatives in the field of contact lens cleaning and disinfection systems, including the containers for storage, cleaning and disinfection.”

IER is a non-profit research organization that conducts collaborative and contract research with and for industry in the area of vision correction, eye care, the anterior eye, contact lenses, contact lens care and patient management, to avoid contact lens complications. IER is headquartered in Sydney, Australia.

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Report: Americans opting for balanced eating over dieting

BY Michael Johnsen

ROSEMONT, Ill. According to an NPD Group report issued Monday, the latest fad in dieting may be not to diet at all, but to eat a more healthy diet in the first place.

NPD reported that the percentage of adults on a diet has decreased by 10 percentage points since 1990, while the percentage of Americans eating healthier has increased.

“While dieting for both women and men remain huge markets, they are not growing markets,” stated Harry Balzer, vice president, The NPD Group, and author of Eating Patterns in America. “The desire to lose weight really was a 90’s trend. Today consumers appear to be making healthier food choices.”

NPD’s National Eating Trends data finds that at least once in a two-week period, more than 70 percent of Americans are consuming reduced fat foods, and over half of them are eating reduced calorie, whole grain or fortified foods. In addition to these foods, other “better for you” foods consumed include diet, light, reduced cholesterol, reduced sodium, caffeine free, sugar free, fortified, organic, and low carb varieties. The average American, according to National Eating Trends, has at least two “better for you” products a day.

More consumers are looking to add whole grains, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and probiotics, according to the NPD Dieting Monitor, which examines top-of-mind dieting and nutrition-related issues facing consumers. Awareness of these nutritional food elements continues to grow. For example, in 2005, 36 percent of consumers surveyed said they were trying to get more omega-3 fatty acids in their diets, and the most recent NPD Dieting Monitor shows that number increasing to 46 percent.

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