Federal health officials are cracking down on bogus pills and supplements that their makers claim will cure sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, herpes and genital warts.
The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it has sent warning letters to more than a dozen companies selling non-prescription products with names like Medavir, Herpaflor and C-Cure. The agency said none of the products have been proven to treat any disease.
"These products are dangerous because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions, where treatment options proven to be safe and effective are available," said Deborah Autor, FDA's director of drug compliance, in a statement.
FDA scientists said the products are a public health hazard because patients could waste time taking them and delay seeking medical care.
A website for Medavir, made by Medavir Medical Advances, claims the product "has been proven effective in several official university research studies — including an official FDA trial."
But the FDA has never approved any non-prescription products for sexually transmitted disease, according to federal officials. Drugs are available for herpes, chlamydia, HIV and other diseases, but only via prescription.
A website for Arenvy Laboratories' ImmuneGlory solution claims the product "strengthens your immune system so that herpes or cold sores have nowhere to hide." Calls placed to both companies were not immediately returned.
The companies cited by the FDA will have 15 days to take their products off the market. If they do not, the agency can take legal action, including seizing products and taking company officials to court.
Federal law requires all products that claim to treat a disease to undergo federal scientific review. Dietary supplements that make health claims are required to bear the disclaimer: "This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA."
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