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Ministry of Health and Prevention says vitamin B17 cannot cure cancer

Healthcare Issues / 27 Mar 2017

Ministry of Health and Prevention says vitamin B17 cannot cure cancer

Ministry of Health and Prevention says vitamin B17 cannot cure cancer


The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention has successfully received ISO 9001:2015 certification for Quality Management Systems.The UK-based Lloyd's Register Quality Assurance (LRQA), the world's leading provider of independent assessment services, certified nine of the Ministry's new central departments following stringent assessment. 

Dr. Mohamed Salim Al Olama, Undersecretary of the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, received the certificates from Basem Obaid, Regional General Manager of the LRQA. Present from the Ministry were Dr. Youssif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary; and Dr. Ayesha Al Mutawa, Chief Innovation Officer and Director of the Strategy and Future Department.

While praising the accomplishment, the Undersecretary stated that all the departments will receive international accreditation for quality management systems in the next phase. He underlined that the ISO certification for the Ministry adds to its series of achievements, positioning it among world-class government departments. Dr. Al Olama said that it also brings international recognition to the Ministry's performance and is a culmination of their efforts towards achieving excellence in implementing international best practices in line with the UAE National Agenda. He further said that the certification comes within the framework of the Ministry's strategic goal of providing high-quality, efficient and transparent administrative services. This will, in turn, support the strategic indicators of customer happiness for smart services as part of the Ministry's continuous efforts to develop polices and regulations according to international best practices and management concepts.

Furthermore, Dr. Al Olama reaffirmed the Ministry's commitment to the sustainability of medical and administrative services.

The Ministry's Emergency, Crisis and Disaster Management; Statistics and Research Center; Public Health and Licensing; Support Services; and Health Clinics and Centers have all received ISO Certification. All departments for Public Health and Licensing, including Empowerment and Healthcare Compliance; Public Health Policies; Medical Licensing, Advertising and Regulation; and Drug Control along with Support Services' Purchasing and Contracts Department and Health Clinics and Centers' Health Education and Promotion Departments have been successfully accredited.

H.E. Dr. Amin Hussein Al Amiri, Assistant Undersecretary for Public Policy and Licensing of the Ministry of Health and Prevention, has warned the public against a circulating video making false claims concerning the supposed ability of vitamin B17 to cure cancer. These claims lack scientific basis and are not supported by facts issued by global health authorities or even cancer research organizations. H.E. reiterated that spreading misleading information has serious consequences, especially as it relates to a serious disease that causes the death of millions of people worldwide. 
‘B17 is not a vitamin and may cause poisoning’
H.E. Dr. Al Amiri explained that B17 – also known as Littrill and Amigdalene, among other names – is a chemical found in the paste of some fruits and plants. It is not a vitamin and is not effective in treating cancer. Scientific studies show that it may cause serious side effects if taken orally. 
He said that medical research has also confirmed that not only is B17 ineffective for cancer but also poses a high risk for poisoning. Side effects include headaches, dizziness, low blood pressure, high fever, liver damage, lack of oxygen in the vessels, and damage to the nervous system.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned medical claims relating to B17 on its ability to destroy cancer cells. The FDA has withdrawn many products from US markets containing these allegations about the effectiveness of B17.

False information causes confusion among patients
The Assistant Undersecretary further confirmed that the disinformation has caused confusion among patients. He said he personally received a number of calls from some patients and high-ranking officials to check the alleged effectiveness of B17. The World Health Organization and other international health institutions said cancer treatment normally involves surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy, which are adopted by many specialized medical centers. Early detection of cancer remains the most effective way to treat the disease and is being advocated by the Ministry of Health and Prevention and other local health authorities. The treatment methods and medication used in public and private hospitals are according to the latest international practices and have been approved by international organizations in the United States and Europe.
Misleading information causes serious health complications 
He also cautioned that misleading information may cause some patients to stop taking their medication or modify the dosage without proper advice from their doctors, potentially causing a relapse. It also harms the integrity of the UAE’s pharmaceutical industry as some patients may lose confidence in accredited medicines in the country. 
H.E. Dr. Al Amiri said spreading the false information through groups of friends and relatives in social media has serious consequences as some patients may look for alternative drugs with grave health consequences that may even lead to death. 
Public advised to check with the Ministry of Health and Prevention 
H.E. Dr. Al Amiri urged members of the community to always check with the Ministry of Health and local health authorities regarding the efficiency of local medicines. He emphasized that the Ministry aims to achieve increased public awareness to counter false information about medicines and their effectiveness. The Ministry of Health and Prevention can be contacted by calling 042301000 or e-mailing or via the ‘Tammeni’ service link at http:
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