FDA Warns Against Supplements Claiming to Cure Cancer and Opioid Addiction
*This post was originally published on July 27, 2017. It has been updated to include new information.
Last month, the FDA issued warning letters to two companies over dietary supplements containing the additive tianeptine. The supplements, produced by MA Labs and Jack B Goods Outlet Store, are being marketed as a treatment for opioid use disorder, as well as pain and anxiety.
The FDA says tianeptine is not a legal dietary supplement and is considered an unsafe food additive. Additionally, both companies were warned against claiming their products are a treatment for opioid addiction, pain and anxiety. The CDC has also warned that tianeptine can have harmful effects, and withdrawal from the chemical can mimic opioid withdrawal. The supplements in question are MA Labs’ Vicaine and Jack B Goods’ Tianaa Red, Tianaa White, and Tianaa Green supplements.
This isn’t the first time the FDA has had to warn the public of supplement companies making unsubstantiated claims. Last year, the FDA put out a warning to consumers to watch out for unapproved products claiming to cure cancer. Cancer drugs and treatments must undergo rigorous testing to receive approval from the FDA. However, some companies are marketing unapproved products—particularly “natural” supplements—as miraculous cures for cancer. Since they have not been tested for FDA approval, there is no way to know if these products might actually harm patients instead of helping them. These products are often marketed via social media and websites and prey on patients who are desperate for a cure.
Phrases the FDA says could be red flags for cancer patients include:
- Cures cancer
- Treats all forms of cancer
- Miraculously kills cancer cells
- Shrinks tumors
- Selectively kills cancer cells
- More effective than chemotherapy
- Attacks cancer cells, leaves healthy cells intact
FDA Warns Companies that Claim their Products Cure Cancer
Earlier this year, the FDA sent warning letters to several companies for making fraudulent claims on their websites. The FDA says these companies marketed their products as safe and effective for cancer patients. However, these supplements were never tested and proven to be effective for cancer treatment. If these companies do not comply with the FDA’s warning, they will face legal action.
“Cancer patients should always seek the advice of their doctor before trying any new treatments. Moreover, companies that fraudulently claim their products cure cancer should face serious consequences,” said Attorney Walter Clark, founder of Walter Clark Legal Group.
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