Public warned vs dietary supplements marketed as anti-cancer drugs PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 20 October 2013 13:58

The Philippine Society of Medical Oncology (PSMO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned Friday of food and herbal supplements with no therapeutic claims being marketed as alternative treatment for cancer patients.

According to Dr. Elli May Villegas, PSMO vice president, the public should be aware that the dietary supplements that were classified as “food supplements” are not meant to replace the drugs meant to cure the cancer cells during a press conference in Mactan Room of Edsa Shangri-la Hotel in Makati City.

“Do not be lured by the many food supplements being sold in the market which promises to cure cancer cells especially if the label of the product bears “No Approved Therapeutic Claim” because those food supplements which were classified as ‘foods’ and, therefore, not replacement ‘drugs’ that can cure the cancer cells,” Villegas stressed.

Villegas added that the said food supplements are merely “processed food” put into capsules as additional food intake of the patient.

Villegas together with other members of PSMO said that they were alarmed by the deceptive and appealing marketing to the public of the said supplementary diets.

“There is a need for public to be educated, vigilant and examine the food supplements that they are buying especially to those who have family members fighting cancer because there is a tendency that they will be mislead with the false promises of those selling the products.

She added that it is important to get proper and safe treatment as early as possible to survive cancer.

“The more patients are empowered with the facts, the more they can make educated decisions together with their doctors on what right or safe treatment that they should undergo,” she explained.

She added that treatment options for cancers are surgery, radiotherapy and drug or chemotherapy.

She added that chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drug administration are life-saving procedures when done properly but also could lead to morbidity and mortality when done improperly.

Florita Moreleja, from Health Scams Surveillance Team of FDA, advised the public to read the label of the product that they are buying.

Moreleja also urged the public to report any misleading marketing of the said supplementary diets and herbs classified if they were marketed in social networking sites as cancer-curing agents.

She said that those persons/companies that will be caught involved in the deceptive and fraudulent marketing of the supplementary diets as cancer-curing drugs will face sanctions under FDA Act of 2009 or republic Act 9711.

She added that if they really want their supplementary diets to be classified as drugs, much testing should be done and the manufacturer should prove that there is scientific basis that it heals and not merely testimonies.

“The testimonies can be deceptive sometimes and creates (sic) confusion too,” she added.