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If you or someone you care about has diabetes and are struggling to afford expensive medications like insulin, ads for products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure Type I or Type II diabetes might catch your attention. But do these products really do what they say? Are they safe? Would your health care provider recommend them? Before you try or buy any new treatment, drug, dietary supplement, or product, ask your health care provider.

The FTC and the FDA have joined forces to call out 10 companies selling unapproved and misbranded drugs they claim will treat or cure diabetes. The companies sell dietary supplements, like capsules and shake drinks, online. One claims its product is a “clinically effective formula” that helps “get your diabetes under control.” Another says its vegetarian capsule “helps balance blood sugar levels for people with diabetes.” But, according to the FTC, those claims may not be backed up by reliable scientific evidence.

In fact, the FTC’s Cease and Desist Orders warn the companies that their claims might not have the scientific back-up the law requires. The agency directed them to review all claims for their products and ensure they are supported by the necessary evidence.

The Cease and Desist Orders tell the companies that — without the necessary scientific evidence — they must immediately stop claiming their products can treat, prevent, or cure diabetes. The letters also require the companies to tell the FTC within 15 days of the specific actions they have taken to address the agency’s concerns. A company that makes deceptive claims about health products can face financial penalties or other legal action.

If you’re looking for treatment for a health condition:

  • Talk to your health care provider before you use any healthcare product, even if it claims to be FDA cleared or approved. Your healthcare professional knows your health history and can guide you to safe alternatives.
  • Be skeptical about miraculous claims, especially about new treatments. If a product guarantees miracle results, it may be a scam.
  • Do some research online. Search for the name of the company, treatment, or procedure, plus the words “scam,” “complaint,” and “review.”

If you spot a scam, tell your state attorney general’s office and report it to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
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