"The ongoing joint campaign has so far included approximately 180 warning letters and other advisories sent to online outlets in the three countries," the release states.
The warning letters caution that failure to comply with the FDA's demands may result in actions such as product seizure and injunctions without any further notice. So far, the network says it has caused a quarter of targeted firms to shut down, and some others are in contact with the FTC regarding the warnings.
"We will continue working with our partners in the U.S. and internationally to make sure scammers have no place to hide," Lydia Parnes, director of FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, was quoted as saying. "The Internet can be a great source of information, but it also is a billboard for ads that promise miracle cures for diabetes and other serious diseases. Our advice to consumers: 'Be smart, be skeptical' when evaluating health claims online."
"We will not tolerate practices that raise false hopes and bilk consumers of precious health care dollars," said Margaret O'K. Glavin, the FDA's associate commissioner for Regulatory Affairs. "Diabetes requires effective treatments and aggressive management, not bogus and unproven products."
The FDA and FTC's initiative has not swayed members of the natural health community.
"The FDA would do anything to further protect the profits of Big Pharma," said consumer health advocate Mike Adams, who adds he was once pre-diabetic but managed to reverse his condition with foods and herbs. "This latest effort is an attempt to eliminate the availability of products that actually work better than diabetes drugs, leaving only high-profit pharmaceuticals that merely control symptoms and do nothing to help patients heal."
To further the campaign, the FTC has announced a "consumer education" campaign to identify what the network defines as phony diabetic cures. One of the methods involves a misleading web site, supposedly for a diabetes cure called Glucobate, which turns out to be an FDA page informing consumers on how to avoid being taken in.
Health advocates such as Adams and Jon Barron say that the only consumers who are being taken in, however, are the ones who buy into the FDA and FTC claims.
Barron points out on his blog, that a study was released on the same day the FDA made their announcement, suggesting that FDA-approved diabetes drug pioglitazone is not only useless as a treatment, but is also harmful to patients.
Barron said that consumers should read between the lines of Glavin's quote, and assume she means that the FDA will not tolerate practices that raise false hopes and bilk consumers unless the pharmaceutical companies and FDA-approved drugs are responsible for said false hopes and bilking.
"The conventional medicine approach to treating diabetes doesn't work," Adams said. "No diabetes patient has ever been cured by pharmaceuticals, but countless numbers have been cured through foods, herbs, nutritional supplements and exercise. The FDA doesn't want anyone to know that because it threatens the profits of drug companies.
"Drug companies are expecting a windfall of profits from diabetes patients over the next two decades, but to lock those profits in, they have to clear away the competition from anti-diabetic foods, herbs and nutritional supplements," he said. "Enter the FDA and FTC, the street thugs of Big Pharma, who do the dirty work of threatening online retailers with heavy fines if they don't stop telling the truth about their natural products."