Dec 28, 2003 - 1:01 pm
Government Moves Against Web Sites Selling Laetrile
December 14, 2003
Some people call it Vitamin B-17, others know it as Amygdalin and in Arizona, it's classified as an unregulated nutritional supplement, but according to the Food and Drug Administration, it's a dangerous product being sold as a drug promising to cure or prevent the development of cancer. According to it's advocates, Amygdalin has been used effectively against cancer for three thousand years. Laetrile had been sold as a cure for cancer in the United States since before 1962.
The FDA and National Cancer Institute have concluded however that laetrile is not only ineffectve against cancer but that it could harm patients who may delay other treatment while using the product. In addition, the substance, when ingested, releases hydrogen cyanide which can cause cyanide poisoning.Made from the seeds of apricot pits and bitter almonds, Laetrile has developed a new following on the Internet. And now the FDA has moved to stop sales through this increasingly popular venue.
On September 1, United States District Court Judge Shelby Highsmith issued an injunction against three companies and one individual involved in the internet sales of laetrile in the United States. They were told to stop promoting and marketing laetrile until the matter is settled. The companies in question are two Florida corporations, World Without Cancer, Inc. and The Health World International, Inc. of Bay Harbor Island, and Health Genesis Corporation of Arizona, which also does business in Bay Harbor Island, Fla. In addition, the government's complaint names as defendant David E. Arjona, an officer of the three corporations.
David Arjona's attorney, Kirkpatrick Dilling told the Washington Post that his client has stopped selling laetrile and is being harassed by federal bureaucrats.While it is legal to import laetril into Arizona, the government maintains it's illegal to sell it across state lines because it is an "unapproved new drug." Arjona's companies are accused of sending federal agents material claiming the cancer curing benefits of laetrile. According to the government's complaint, the claim of medical success means laetrile was being sold as a drug.
At the Health Genesis Web site, customers who click on the Vitamin B17 "our best seller" link get the following notice:"Dear valued customer .. On August 25, 2000, the U.S. FDA and Department of Justice instructed Health Genesis Corp., to stop the introduction or delivery for introduction into U.S. interstate commerce, any product containing or purporting to contain amygdalin, also referred to as laetrile or vitamin B17, and apricot seeds. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the status of Laetrile in the U.S. is no different than that of any other unapproved drug.
"At the "world without cancer" site visitors are told that the site is currently being "modified." Despite the U.S. government's action against Arjona and his three companies, online sources for purchasing the controversial agent can still be found. The LifeWithoutCancer Web site tells it's visitors:"The FDA banned vitamin B-17 years ago, without giving it any type of clinical trial, saying it was to harmful for cancer patients (the only research done on Laetrile by the FDA was made by two Pharmaceutical Corporations).
SOURCES:FDA Web site paper on Laetrile Washington PostWEB RESOURCES:Laetrile Information from Oncolink