Why are Laetrile and many other substances used in alternative-cancer therapy not readily available in the U.S.?
The short answer is that these substances are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The full answer, however, is a bit more complex. The reason they do not carry approval is that they have not undergone the extensive FDA testing that all new drugs must pass before being approved for common use. That’s the law in the United States. This process takes years of research work, requires tens of thousands of pages of reports, and costs hundreds of millions of dollars. The only firms that can afford this are large pharmaceutical companies. Not even they will undertake such expense unless they can eventually make a profit through sales, and that means they must obtain a patent on the substance being tested. However, substances found in nature cannot be patented, only man-made chemicals and processes can. Since Laetrile and many other substances used in alternative-cancer treatments are found in nature, they cannot be patented. That means they will never be tested according to FDA protocol. Consequently, they will never be officially approved no matter how effective they may be. That is why you often hear it said that alternative cancer therapies are "unproven." That is a very misleading statement. They may not have been proven by FDA protocol, but many of them definitely have been proven as both safe and effective by actual clinical experience in the treatment of thousands of cancer patients. Unfortunately, until the laws are changed, the only officially approved substances we will ever have for the treatment of cancer in the United States are man-made, patented chemicals!