Why Rose Bengal Isn’t Available | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 87 Issue 46 | p. 4 | Letters
Issue Date: November 16, 2009

Why Rose Bengal Isn’t Available

Department: Letters

About 10 years ago, Provectus discovered that rose bengal solutions kill cancer cells but not normal cells. Rose bengal is an organic chemical that has been used for many years as a bright-red food colorant, stain, and dye. It has also been used in medical tests of the eye and liver. Why has this easily available compound, which costs only about $10 per g, not been approved by the Food & Drug Administration for medical use against cancer? Because the U.S. patent law says that it is not patentable, thus, no pharmaceutical firm can make large profits from it.

But an organization like the Veterans Administration, which is not required to make large profits, can and should immediately start a program to qualify rose bengal for medical use. Then, the U.S. will have an inexpensive, nontoxic competitor for current drugs against cancer.

Harold Fritz McDuffie
Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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