Meet The FTC, Your New Drug Watchdog.

The FTC recently stepped in and – after lengthy (and more than fair) warnings – charged five companies with ‘making false and misleading claims for cancer cures’ and they are set to go in front of judges in court. Several other companies settled for fairly trivial financial amounts and before even that over a hundred letters were sent out that caused companies to change their advertising claims.

Some of the substances being sold included essiac teas, herbal mixtures, laetrile, a corrosive ointment and mushroom extracts. Snake oil actually sounds better than a couple of those.

Of course, it is the FTC – Federal Trade Commission – that goes after these bogus medicine vendors because checking up on what gets sold as medicine in the US is apparently too much of a task for the agency you might have thought would be in charge here, the FDA. But the FDA is apparently busy aiding and abetting multinational drug companies in their quest to extend the time for which they can make excessive profits (see “I’m not going to suck it up“) or doesn’t bother to check foreign drug imports very carefully (see “Is your medicine contaminated?“).

This failure is particularly saddening because those suffering from cancer and their friends and family are in desperate straights and wide open for any kind of remedy no matter how alternative, even if it’s so alternative it’s bogus. So thank you FTC and yet another boo for the FDA.

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