Oct. 9, 2018

Florida Medical Center Fabricated Study Citations to Make Illegal, Life-Threatening Cancer Treatment Appear Safe and Effective

Public Citizen Demands FTC and FDA Investigate Utopia Wellness’ Deceptive Promotion of Cesium Chloride

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The use of falsified scientific citations in the advertisement and promotion of an illegal heart-toxic drug for treatment of cancer by a Florida-based medical center must be investigated, Public Citizen said today in separate letters to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (PDF) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) (PDF.)

Utopia Wellness, located just outside of Tampa, promotes on its website the use of intravenous cesium chloride as an alternative treatment for cancer and calls the chemical “safe” despite FDA scientists finding that it can cause fatal heart rhythm disturbances and sudden death. Cesium chloride is not an FDA-approved drug and has been available only through pharmacy compounding.

The medical center’s online promotional materials also claim that cesium chloride has had “astounding success in certain cancers.” But there is no evidence from any well-designed clinical trials to support this claim. Moreover, Public Citizen discovered that 30 citations of scientific papers listed on Utopia Wellness website as purported evidence for this claim were clearly deliberately falsified. Specifically, the cited articles all related to research on or medical uses of ozone, but the word “ozone” in the actual title of each cited paper has been replaced with the words “cesium chloride.” These papers had nothing to do with cesium chloride.

In July, the FDA partially granted Public Citizen’s request that the agency prohibit the use cesium chloride in pharmacy compounding because agency scientists had determined more than two years ago that the chemical is “not safe for human use” and has not been shown to be effective “for the prevention or treatment of any form of cancer.” As a result of the agency’s July action, cesium chloride cannot be legally used in pharmacy compounding.

“Utopia Wellness’ deliberate falsification of scientific paper citations on its website represents a brazen attempt to dupe vulnerable cancer patients into believing that cesium chloride is safe and effective for treating cancer,” said Dr. Meena Aladdin, health researcher with Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “It must face the consequences of promoting such quackery and endangering the lives of patients.”

Public Citizen asks the FTC to immediately investigate Utopia Wellness’ advertising practices and demand that the company cease and desist its deceptive promotion of cesium chloride. The organization also asks the FDA to investigate the medical center’s promotion and use of cesium chloride for treatment of cancer since July and to take appropriate enforcement action if the agency finds that the company continued to compound cesium chloride after the prohibition against its use in pharmacy compounding went into effect.

###