The Illegal Marketing of Diabetes Treatments

February 22, 2018

The number of people suffering from diabetes is on the rise, and that has led to more and more illegally marketed cures and treatments flooding the market.

It probably comes as no surprise to learn that The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises consumers to steer clear of these treatments. Some of these supposed “wonder cures” are sold as over the counter treatments when they actually contain ingredients that should make them prescription drugs. One of the big issues here is that diabetes sufferers often go off effective legal drugs in favor of the illegal variety. Without the proper care and treatment, these people can end up becoming at risk for even more serious health issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the US alone, more than 29 people deal with diabetes, with roughly 7 million going undiagnosed. There are millions more who are in the pre-diabetic stage, which means that they have high blood sugar levels that could effectively be brought back to normal with proper diet and exercise.

In discussing the rise of illegal diabetes treatments, Jason Humbert, a commander with the U.S. Public Health Service, of FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, spoke about how people who suffer from chronic ailments will often become desperate and go with any type of treatment that promises to help, regardless of the risks. He also warned that failing to follow proven treatment plans can lead to further health issues, with the likes of kidney disease, blindness, amputations, and even death being near the top of the list.

Unapproved Diabetes Drugs

Several companies have received warning letters from the FDA in regards the marketing of diabetes products that are in violation of federal law. These products are usually marketed as the following: OTC drugs; ayurvedics, dietary supplements, alternative medical treatments, or homeopathic treatments. Diabetes is not the only disease targeted by these companies, with the likes of cancer, macular degeneration, STD’s, and more also on the list.

Upon inspection of supposed “all-natural” products, the FDA discovered that most contained undeclared active ingredients usually found in prescription diabetes medications. Serious health issues can arise from these undeclared active ingredients. Consumers and doctors unaware of these ingredients may end up in a situation where said ingredients interact in potentially harmful ways with legally prescribed treatments. One of the most common complications is that the recommended daily dosage of a diabetic drug may be exceeded. The end result in this circumstance would be a big drop in blood sugar levels that is referred to as hypoglycemia.

Online pharmacies who illegally market prescription drugs are also a target of the FDA. There are several ways to spot legitimate online pharmacies, and they include: requiring consumers to have a physical US address, requiring patients have a valid prescription, being licensed by a state pharmacy board, and having a pharmacist on hand to answer questions about medications.

Illegal online pharmacies often market and sell drugs that have not been approved in the US. They may also sell medications without the consumer being required to present a valid prescription. The FDA cannot guarantee that the drugs sold on these sites are safe or effective, or that they have not been contaminated or tampered with.



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