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Cracking down on fraudulent STD treatments
May 3rd, 2011
07:16 PM ET

Cracking down on fraudulent STD treatments

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission warned several companies to remove products from the market for making bogus claims about treating and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

“There are no no NO consumer products and dietary supplements to treat STDs that are available over the counter,” emphasized Howard Sklamberg, director of FDA’s Office of Enforcement and Regulatory affairs, explaining that the only way to treat an STD is by using an FDA-approved prescription drug obtained from a licensed health care provider.

The agencies issued joint letters to 12 companies warning that they are violating federal law by selling 30 products claiming to treat and even cure several STDs including herpes, HIV, AIDS, chlamydia and genital warts. The companies have 15 days to voluntarily comply with the law and notify the FDA of the actions they have taken to correct the violations noted in the letters. The products, which are sold online and in retail, have not been tested by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. If they don’t comply, legal action may result, including seizure, injunction or criminal prosecution.

“These illnesses need to be detected appropriately and accurately and treated properly by a medical professional,” explained Dr. Jeffrey P. Engel, state director North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, explaining “STDs are not just a threat to individual health but to public health because any individual can spread a disease that isn’t properly treated.”

“The Internet can be a toxic wasteland for consumer products,” said Richard Cleland, of the FTC, adding that “health scams that endanger public health will not be tolerated.”

Products claiming treatment of disease fall under the jurisidiction of the FDA under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and under the Federal Trade Commission Act making unsubstantiated claims is illegal.
The FDA and FTC held a joint press briefing to announce the actions as part of their new Fraudulent STD Products Initiative. The joint action is the first step toward preventing unproven items from being sold as treatments for STDs and preventing consumers from being mislead by false claims.


soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. KAS

    Good job! A bit late, but a good job. The FDA should also be going after every other non-drug that is peddled out there including the water that is pushed by homepathic "doctors". If it's water, and has nothing else in it, it's not a drug.

    Homeopath is a fraud and should be treated as such. Just like these STD "drugs".

    May 4, 2011 at 08:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Conrad Shull

    Natural or otherwise, if it isn't a drug, it has no efficacy. If it has no efficacy (all homeopathic "stuff" falls into this category), and it's sold as if it does, it is a fraud and so is the seller.

    May 4, 2011 at 09:18 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jon

      Some of these have quite active ingredients. DMSO absorbs readily through the skin and tends to bring other compounds with it which may cause damage.

      May 4, 2011 at 11:28 | Report abuse |
    • T3chsupport

      Do you realize that most drugs are derived and concentrated from natural sources?

      May 4, 2011 at 12:27 | Report abuse |
    • admaco

      define "most." because "most" drugs are small molecules synthetically made in a lab as a result of countless QSARs generated as a result of HTP in vitro binding assays targeted toward specific cellular receptors.

      however "some" drugs; i.e., anticancer drugs such as taxanes and vinblastine/vincristines/mytomycin derivatives are, in fact, prepared semi-synthetically. but i can assure you having been in the drug discovery/development business numerous years, that those are far & few between. moreover, those act mechanistically as cytotoxins.

      so in fact, most drugs or compounds that you'd actually want in your body; i.e., not one acting as a cytotoxin, aren't derived from natural sources.

      May 4, 2011 at 14:50 | Report abuse |
  3. nanda Sologar

    1. The Health agencies should require complete testing on ALL over-the-counter "drugs" claiming any health benefits–even those that claim it "MAY' help affliction A, B, or C.
    2.Have the "alternative medicine " and "healthcare" business tested rigorously before licensing to practice.
    3. Religious and traditional meds / healing NOT excepted.
    TOO MANY charlatans and too much snake oil.

    May 4, 2011 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. The truth is out there

    So who goes after the FDA for fraudulent things like saying its ok to advertise you have no trans fats if its under 1g? You can legally say you have no trans fat if something is under 1g? Thats just one example. Imagine what else you could know if you do a little research on what this organization puts in place for the common man. Most medicines out there arent truly tested since you cant possibly know how something will affect you 20 years later. But we accept it because this agency tells us its ok.

    May 4, 2011 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Ken

    They should add "abstinence-only" curricula to this list of fraudulent STD treatments.

    May 4, 2011 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Todd

      What??? Do you know what abstinence is?? While I agree abstinence for all unmarried people is completely ridiculous adn not feasible, abstinence is THE most effective STD prevention...you realize you can't get STD's without performing the "S" (leaving aside shared needles by drug users, nothing can prevent transferring diseases between people who exchange blood in that manner). Point being, abstinence is not a fraudulent STD treatment, at all, it is not feasible or realistic, but it is not fraudulant since it 100% effective.

      May 4, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse |
    • MAYO

      @ Todd. Abstinence is an STD treatment?

      May 4, 2011 at 20:12 | Report abuse |
    • Veritas

      He said abstinence only CURRICULA. It an STD treatment but the CURRICULA is a bogus was of preventing STDs. It doesn't work because it runs contrary to millions of years of human evolution that has created an incredibly strong drive to procreate. However, that drive does not respect STDs and unwanted pregnancies, so it needs to be channeled (i.e. contraceptives etc.). It is unrealistic to think you can supress it all together, which is what abstinence only CURRICULA tells young people they should do. So the CURRICULA isn't a bogus STD treatment, but it is a bogus STD preventive.

      May 5, 2011 at 01:32 | Report abuse |
  6. Anne Chovies

    I guess strict abstinence before marriage and absolute fidelity after marriage is still the best defense against STDs. I know it won't guarnatee you'll never get one but it sure cuts the chances down. And it brings a lot of other benefits as well. It has sure worked for me for all these years even though its becoming less and less popular as tiem goes by. I'm sure everyone is going to jump all over me for saying that and tell me what a fantasy world I live in, etc. Just a note to go on record so that like minded people know they are not alone.

    May 4, 2011 at 16:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Jiggered

    I have no health care and now how do I get rid of these bumps on my penis?

    May 4, 2011 at 16:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rick

      Well in Africa, they believe sleeping with a virgin will cure AIDS. Try that out first.

      May 4, 2011 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • S1N

      Easy. Cut it off.

      May 4, 2011 at 23:25 | Report abuse |
  8. fuyuko

    see a doctor if you have an std. otherwise you may give it to someone else!

    May 4, 2011 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. APeasant

    Here's the problem; cracking down on charlatan products is excellent. But any organization that has as much power as the pharmeceutical industry has enormous financial incentive to put out disinformation as well as information. A lot of the homeopathic cures out there may in fact be fake, but whats to prevent large industries from cheating the system as well? The FDA does not have the resources or the independent political clout to really regulate all of the products available, and these industries do not make money by offering real cures

    May 4, 2011 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. FDA in Bed with Big Pharm

    Careful of some of the bull that the FDA feeds the masses. This is a just push from the big pharmaceutical companies to try and eliminate alternative medicines. I was diagnosed with HSV II (Herpes Simplex II) 15 years ago and have tried many different treatments, both herbal and pharmaceutical. And I can honestly say that I was disappointed with the results of most treatments, including the FDA "approved" Acyclovir (otherwise known as Valtrex) which actually made my symptoms worse. I can't vouch for all of the products on this FDA list as I haven't tried them, however, one that is on this list DOES work for me, Herpaflor. It is a herbal supplement and the the only one that I have found that reduced or eliminated my symptoms. Is it completely effective 100% percent of the time? No. Will it work for everyone that tries it? No. But the drugs made by the pharmaceutical companies that the FDA approves can not make that claim either, all medications have varying results for different people, whether it's heart meds, cholesterol meds or otherwise. Now, I'm not saying that some of these other products aren't bogus, no matter what you are buying there is always going to be people out there trying to scam people for an easy buck. But knowing this, if you are going to use herbal products, as a consumer you need to research these products before buying into some of these companies claims. If you take the time to research this stuff, there are plenty of user reviews regarding these products out there, that you should be able to make an educated decision on which of these are the real deal that may work for you and which ones are probably scams. And I'm not talking about the "testimonials" these companies have listed on their websites, but various discussion forums and review websites that can be found by simply googling the product names for reviews, and they offer real opinions from real people. That being said, the fact that the FDA has listed a product on their "fraud" list that I have experienced positive results of first hand, leads me to believe that a few of the others on the list are probably not scams either.

    May 4, 2011 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Rich

      Valtrex, which is Valcyclovir not Acyclovir (a subtle but important difference) has a known mechanism of action that works to inhibit HSV replication. It has a proven efficacy that has been shown in many large studies. Herpaflor and these other fake treatments don't have any mechanisms of action that could treat HSV or any other STD. They also have no studies to offer any evidence that they work. They have only anecdotal evidence which is worth absolutely nothing when it comes to proving a treatment is effective.

      May 5, 2011 at 00:13 | Report abuse |
  11. loudwhisper

    Am I the only person who has ever watched "Kids"?! NO one is safe....ever....

    May 4, 2011 at 23:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Tony F.

    In other words, unless you pay off the FDA and get approved, you are considered illegal and a scam. Doesn't anyone else here see the potential for bias here?

    May 4, 2011 at 23:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Lattelisa

    Natural remedies are ONLY options for people who do not have health insurance. It's better to let people continue to do their own research and treat themselves as best they can than to let them walking around infecting others because they can't afford to get medical attention or treatment.

    May 5, 2011 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. nina786

    good work.....:) waw...

    http://www.seemeagain.com

    May 5, 2011 at 08:36 | Report abuse | Reply
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    May 11, 2011 at 21:46 | Report abuse | Reply
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    Great post, thanks for the read.

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    May 28, 2017 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
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