179856 tn?1333547362

Warning Re: "Natural Cures" and Snakeoil Salesmen

msnbc.com today I just cut out some bits and pieces

Regarding cancer but the same story as we find to be true over and over again.
Also there is a list of supplements you should not take as they interfere with the prescribed meds - I realize this is regarding cancer but it's similar in nature to HCV and our problems here.

"Cancer patients turning to alternative remedies
60 percent seek natural ‘cures’ despite warnings from doctors

"Whatever money she had left in life, they got most of it," said a sister, Sharon Flasch. "They prey on the sick public with the belief that this stuff can help them, whether they can or can't."

Some people who try unproven remedies risk only money. But people with cancer can lose their only chance of beating the disease by skipping conventional treatment or by mixing in other therapies. Even harmless-sounding vitamins and "natural" supplements can interfere with cancer medicines or affect hormones that help cancer grow.

........are quacks selling fringe therapies and supplements through testimonials, not proof. Laetrile, "detoxifying" coffee enemas, shark cartilage — the miracle cures change but the bogus claims remain the same.

"What I am noticing in the last year or two is a resurgence of these things. It's coming back," said Barrie Cassileth, integrative medicine chief at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and a longtime adviser to the American Cancer Society.

Preying on insecurities
Yet they are extremely popular with cancer patients, who crave control over their disease and want to do everything they can to be healthy — emotional needs that make them vulnerable to deceptive claims. Studies estimate that 60 percent of cancer patients try unconventional remedies and about 40 percent take vitamin or dietary supplements, which do not have to be proved safe or effective and are not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

None has turned out to be a cure, although some show promise for easing symptoms.
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Avatar universal
Its really appalling the way charlatans prey on people when they are at their most desperate and low point of their lives.  I'm hoping the Obama administration can take this practice into account when desigining whatever they will propose regarding healthcare.   I would like to see the worst offenders prosecuted for making flase and misleading promises and claims!
Helpful - 0
179856 tn?1333547362
I agree.  It's time for the government/FDA/President Obama...somebody important who cares about peoples health to make this a priority.  In the time that people waste on these false claim items they loose the most precious time they have to be cured. Look at the difference in having stage 1 breast cancer to stage 4 - 100% chance of recovery down to almost none (watching that happen right now here to a woman at work).

It's time someone stood up to bat for all those who are too ill and too desperate to do so themselves. Shoot we ALL Want the easy way out but most times like the article said taking tons of vitamin C ain't gonna really do all that much is it.

Prosecute them!  A couple high profile cases might help. Heck the internet will always be here and has such broad ways to get this junk sold but it would be a good idea for somebody to police the medical applications and then prosecute the **** out of the fake ones!

Makes me SO MAD.
Helpful - 0
96938 tn?1189799858
Yeah, bring in the government to fix the problem.  After all, who knows more about false and misleading claims?
Helpful - 0
179856 tn?1333547362
putting this here just so i can find it someday when it's needed

Many herbal products made by Big Pharma
Drug makers Bayer, GlaxoSmithKline and Wyeth also sell supplements

By Marilyn Marchione

updated 22 minutes ago
Some people who buy supplements to avoid Big Pharma drug companies may find themselves doing business with Big Herba, instead.

Some of the same companies that mass-produce drugs in huge chemical labs also churn out vitamin and herbal pills sold in bottles with rainbows, sunrises and flowers on their labels.

Dozens of other supplement makers reap more than $100 million in annual sales. One of the largest — NBTY Inc., on New York's Long Island — sold $2 billion last year in the United States alone. Its brands include Nature's Bounty, Vitamin World, Puritan's Pride and Sundown.

They used to be mom and pop operations but now they're major companies," said Bruce Silverglade, chief lawyer for the consumer group, Center for Science in the Public Interest.

There are hundreds of small firms, including niche players with only a few products. But they account for a slim slice of total sales, industry experts say.

Supplements often are sold through multilevel marketing — distributors and franchise holders earn commissions by selling and recruiting others to sell for a large company at the top of the pyramid.

Even many ingredient suppliers are multimillion-dollar firms that do business all over the world.

Little herbal stores are only "what the consumer sees when they're shopping," while the large companies that supply them are mostly invisible, Silverglade said.

The industry's little-guy, granola image has been a great marketing asset, allowing it to tap into Americans' frustration with big medicine, big prices and big risks. Supplement makers are dwarfed by leading pharmaceutical firms, whose drugs command sales in the tens of billions of dollars. Yet the reality is that natural remedy makers constitute a sizable business that doesn't have to play by the same rules as companies that make prescription or over-the-counter medicines.

The Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994 exempted supplements from needing federal Food and Drug Administration approval, or proof of safety and effectiveness, before they go on sale.

$23 billion spent on supplements in U.S.
Americans spent more than $23 billion on vitamin, herb and other supplements in 2007. That's less than a tenth of the amount spent on prescription drugs last year, though much of that cost was paid by insurers. Growth in supplement sales soared after the 1994 law but sputtered in the late 1990s, when the FDA linked scores of deaths and heart problems to diet supplements containing ephedra, which it ultimately banned in 2004.

After ephedra, "the growth fell off and has never returned" to double-digit rates, although sales still are rising at a more modest pace, said Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Products Association.

In 2007, the FDA adopted good manufacturing practices, or GMPs, that set broad goals for companies to ensure quality and safety of their products, which still won't need FDA approval to be sold. Big companies now must meet those standards, while small businesses have until next year to comply.

Of the 1,460 supplement firms in business when the rules were adopted, FDA said more than half were small, with less than 20 employees and median annual revenue of less than $1 million. Another 526 had 20 to 500 workers and median annual sales of $5 million to $10 million. That leaves 160 large companies, with 500 or more employees and sales over $10 million a year, said McGuffin, who was on a panel advising FDA on the rules.

"Responsible companies put in very strict" manufacturing practices voluntarily, before the FDA acted, said NBTY's president, Harvey Kamil. His company makes 50 billion capsules and tablets a year, plus extracts, aromatherapies and nutrition bars. It sells mostly to mass-market retailers who want to see certifications and "seals of approval" by the Natural Products Association and other such groups that set quality-control standards, he said.

The Pharma giant Wyeth makes Centrum and other supplements, and Bayer HealthCare of aspirin fame makes the One A Day line. Unilever, Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline and other big pharmaceutical firms also make or sell supplements.

"They're moving into more and more of these products," said Steven Mister, president of the trade group, Council for Responsible Nutrition.

Helpful - 0
717272 tn?1277590780
I read something that said Obama had made a statement supporting HCV research for African American patients, the least responsive of all ethnic groups, so I'd guess he is aware.  It can only help.

Here is link: http://www.natap.org/2009/HCV/052809_01.htm
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
yes ,I saw the same news cast .made me think of HCV sufferers ,that might go a little crazy w the unproven methods . Its like that 14 yr old boy ,forced to take chemo ,I felt bad for him ,but his cancer is 90% cureable .who would risk such things ?   although this tx s*cks ,I will stick with it .If not ,I rest up & try one of the triple combos .bottom line you need to use the ;ol commen sense .
Helpful - 0
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