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From the Townsend Letter,
the Examiner of Alternative Medicine
May 2006

Aldara: The Skin Cancer "Cure" That Can Kill
by Elaine Hollingsworth

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It takes a courageous person, or publication, to reveal the skullduggery of Big Pharma. Occasionally, however, the truth cannot be suppressed, and when The Wall Street Journal revealed that Merck, the maker of Vioxx, had been burying the serious health risks of their COX-2 inhibitor anti-inflammatory drug as far back as March, 2000, a scandal erupted. As Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, wrote, "The licensing of Vioxx and its continued use in the face of unambiguous evidence of harm have been public health catastrophes."

A health catastrophe even more devastating than Vioxx is Aldara or, more specifically, the chemical imiquimod (IQ). IQ is the only active agent in the popular drug known as Aldara, which is marketed worldwide and promoted very heavily by 3M Pharmaceuticals as a "benign" salve to cure skin cancers. IQ has been known since 1986 to cause cancer. It is so dangerous that the American Cancer Society, The National Cancer Institute, and others have determined it is a carcinogen, and have placed it on their lists of most hazardous chemicals. IQ has even been listed as a laboratory chemical hazard by the US Occupational Safety Health Agency. Yet, doctors worldwide are prescribing it in Aldara, willy-nilly, to "cure" skin cancers, even though there are safe, vegetable-based creams and other proven remedies, including surgery. I foolishly used Aldara, and it didn't kill my skin cancer, but it nearly killed me, leaving me with a damaged immune system.

Shortly after using the Aldara salve, I started aching so terribly that I could barely walk. I felt as if I had been poisoned, but didn't twig that it was the Aldara causing such distress. After all, a Gold Coast dermatologist had assured me Aldara was a "benign" salve, and I only applied it to a tiny, 5 mm diameter (one-quarter inch) area of my nose. I was careful to apply it only to that tiny area, but by the second week of use, my entire nose became covered by a disgusting thick, crusty, black scab – and still looks strange.

Anaphylactic Shock
Fortunately, I only used the salve for two weeks, rather than for the recommended six weeks. Had I used it longer, I would not be alive today to go on a crusade to stop 3M from poisoning unwary people. I quit using the salve when I learned, in a terrifying way, that Aldara is dangerous. After the second week of use, I woke at 2 A.M. with an allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock. My throat was so swollen that it felt as if two tennis balls were lodged in it; my ears were throbbing; my nose was dreadfully swollen; and I could barely breathe or swallow.

My partner and I went to hell and back that night. Had I been alone, I would have died. I was extremely ill for two weeks afterwards, and for months, the skin all over my body burned as if I'd been in a fire, and my back was covered in bleeding, itching sores. I've learned since that my other symptoms – memory loss, diminished eyesight, low-level headaches, dizziness, and extreme, unexplained, weight loss – are common to many Aldara victims.

3M Pharmaceuticals' Indifference
When I rang 3M Corporate Headquarters in Melbourne, I was told that no one had reported adverse effects, other than slight flu-like symptoms. I was assured that my problems must have been brought on by something else – or, that my reaction to the drug was all in my head. I knew this was an outright lie. As Michael Bending, of Alliance For Health Freedom Australia, says, "Drug companies manipulate, steal, murder, obfuscate, lie, or commit genocide outright (yes I did say genocide, please see link: when preparing their so-called scientific research."

Knowing about Big Pharma treachery, I put a truncated story about Aldara on my web site, hoping to warn others. Thank heaven for the Internet, which makes it harder and harder for the "bad guys" to keep their dirty secrets away from the public. My web posting received an avalanche of replies from damaged people. A grieving relative told me about a man in Melbourne who was dying in the hospital because of Aldara. A young Australian woman sent a story of horrible symptoms both she and her mother had suffered, some identical to mine. Several women said that their physicians actually painted Aldara on their cervixes, where it goes straight into the body through the mucus membranes! The use of Aldara on genital warts is another scandal, and the side effects from this can be horrible. Internet drug pushers are offering Aldara without prescription and without warnings of any kind. The emails keep coming, the tragic stories go on and on, and there isn't space to list them all.

Because of the Internet and public access, I was able to read the sworn testimony of 3M representatives in US Federal Court, and I now understand why this salve is so dangerous. A 3M pharmacologist testified that, during treatment with Aldara, when skin cancers develop into open lesions and patients continue to apply Aldara, IQ goes directly into the bloodstream and circulates systemically. This progression is deadly, according to University scientists, who say this easily leads to permanent autoimmune diseases and worse. Even the conservative Mayo Clinic wrote, "Studies in animals have shown that Aldara/imiquimod… causes bone problems, brain problems, or low birth weight in pregnancies." I'll say, and lots more!

Will everyone who has used Aldara react the way I did? No, of course not, because even with our pathetic regulatory agencies, any drug that caused such drastic symptoms in everyone would be removed. Will everyone who has used Aldara be damaged? Absolutely, if they used it on an open lesion. Most, however, will fail to connect the dots and, in most cases, will have no way to connect a subsequent grave disease with a past visit to a dermatologist. But the connection is there, as prominent Gold Coast cancer specialist, Dr Michael Tait, says: "In my opinion, based on my observations and research, Aldara should be classified as a criminally dangerous material if used on any open or potentially open skin area."

The Culprit: Cytokines
Cytokines are small proteins that make up the extremely complex communication centers of the immune system. When bodies are working well, more than 100 of these cytokines exist in perfect harmony throughout the body, enabling it to run like a Swiss watch. Disturb this harmonious environment at your peril!

As an FDA report states, "Our experiments show that agents capable of altering the balance between TH1 and TH2 Cytokines impact the initiation, severity, and persistence of both systemic and organic specific autoimmunity."

WOW! This is what the FDA scientists state, yet this same agency, paid by the public to protect the public, approved this deadly drug with the full knowledge of the drug's dangers. The FDA does not even bother to warn physicians that Aldara destroys the cytokine activity, a consequence their own agency specifically recognized and warned against. And it's not just the FDA that's in denial. 3M has snowed all the regulatory agencies of which I am aware, and when people complain to these agencies, they send out form letters stating that 3M research proves that Aldara is safe. I've seen these letters, and they make my blood boil. This isn't good enough!

Dysfunctional immune systems with broken cytokine communication centers are responsible for virtually all common autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, diabetes, coeliac (celiac) disease, and hundreds more. As a small example of what can happen, sometimes Aldara victims find that their weight plummets, and no amount of gorging will bring it back to normal. This is because Aldara can destroy the villi in the small intestine and the stomach lining, causing victims to slowly starve to death.

The Mucous Membrane Outrage
Mucous membranes are tissues that line body cavities and canals, such as the face, mouth, throat, nose, lips, eyes, urethra, rectum, and vagina. They also occur in intestinal linings and even in the brain. These protective membranes produce a thick, slippery liquid called "mucous," that protects the membranes and keeps them moist. Without this crucial mucous, terrible damage can occur all over the body.

There is evidence that 3M has known since their original trials that Aldara attacks and destroys mucous membrane tissue. Yet, they continued developing, and then promoted, this drug without any warnings about this pernicious side effect. 3M had the gall to claim that Aldara in no way destroys or permanently alters the immune system, and the company actually claimed that it helps the immune system.

It was only because Texan Richard Beasley exposed the truth about the Aldara /mucous membrane connection on his web site that finally, after years of his Herculean efforts, 3M was forced to admit the truth and re-write their product literature. Beasley blew the whistle on many of 3M's other "omissions" as well and forced them to make lots of changes. As I have said many times, if it were not for the Internet, corporate criminals wouldn't have anyone to put the brakes on them. Now, if only doctors would do their homework, and governments would do their jobs, millions of people would not be put at risk of serious illness, and even death, because of this highly profitable drug.

But Wait ---- There's More, and It's Much Worse!
Women, if your doctor suggests using Aldara on your genital warts or, heaven forbid, on your cervix (yes, some doctors do this!), run screaming to a doctor who isn't a criminal. If you consider this extreme, think again: putting this mucous membrane-destroyer on (or in) the vaginal area can be an invitation for permanent injury or, worse, cancer. Because of the cytokine activity, Aldara has the capacity to eat away the delicate mucous membranes of the vagina, and there is no reason to assume these membranes will ever re-establish themselves. Your doctor will not have the wit (or the desire, because of lawsuit fear) to connect his ill-considered action with your "unconnected" new condition.

How Richard Beasley has managed to carry on his five-year crusade to stop 3M, I will never understand. As just one tiny example of the terrible damage he has suffered, he said, "I went to the emergency room bleeding from the nose and mouth, because the cytokine activity had eaten away all of my sinus mucous membrane tissues. This tissue has never re-grown, and I now have severe dry nasal passageways that I must spray with moisture agents three times daily, just to keep going."

Naïve people may wonder how it could be possible that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Australia's Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), and the other government agencies worldwide that are supposed to protect citizens from dangerous drugs, could have approved this killer drug. The answer is simple: corruption. How 3M managed to get it through in the US I don't know as yet, but I will find out eventually. I do know, however, that a physician who worked for the Australian TGA during the Aldara approval process ended up in a cushy, high-level job with 3M, and I have proof of this unholy alliance from US Federal Court transcripts.

This alliance is the famous, long-term "revolving door policy," so beloved of the FDA, which is probably the most corrupt of all US Government agencies. And, as is well known, so many other countries follow along like sheep, thinking the FDA has verified research and that it's perfectly all right to unleash upon the public new, inadequately tested, money-spinners from Big Pharma – products like Vioxx.

A well-publicized example of this corruption is the scandal of Arthur Hull Hayes Jr., MD, former head of the FDA, who had to resign when it was discovered that he had been taking bribes from pharmaceutical companies. True to form, he went off to work for the company who manufactured the neurotoxin, NutraSweet, that he had pushed through the approval process because Donald Rumsfeld, US Secretary of Defense, had pressured the FDA to do so. (Rumsfeld, before going into government, had been the CEO of Monsanto, the company that owned the patent on Nutrasweet.) There are thousands of stories such as this, which are the subject of many articles and books, and I would like to force all these men to read testimonials from people who have been horribly damaged because of their unethical behavior. For example, a 25-year-old Turkish girl reported the following:

I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Graves Basedow disease. My doctor said it's 99% certain that my diseases are due to that cream, Aldara. This is only one of my other probable autoimmune disorder. Although my family would not like me to take legal action (they find it useless), I'm goingto gather all documentation I can and will talk to a lawyer as a start. I'm not letting them live with what they're doing to people. This is totally a murder! Knowing they would harm people but hiding documentation from them.

S.H. Mustafa
Istanbul, Turkey

Aldara wrecked Richard Beasley's life for the past five years. As he says, "I would have been better off had it killed me outright." As a result of Mr. Beasley's horrible experience with this drug and his subsequent lawsuit against 3M, he has performed a great deal of research on Aldara, and he has conclusive evidence that 3M falsified and manipulated its research programs to obtain the most positive results.

Would they do that? You bet they would, and for the same motives Merck Pharmaceuticals had when they lied to save their two-and-a-half billion dollar money-spinner, Vioxx. Merck was exposed, and now 3M must be exposed before any more people are maimed. Mr. Beasley stands ready to assist anyone in the media with the courage to go against this powerful company. He has in excess of 9,000 pages of quality evidence and testimonials from injured persons that are so damaging to 3M that they tried, in US Federal Court, to muzzle him and shut down his web site. In this suit they stated, "If this information Mr. Beasley has is allowed to be made public to the world at large, it will do irreparable harm to our company." 3M asked the court to either have Beasley's research destroyed or turned over to them. They lost the suit. Please visit Richard Beasley's web site,, for more details.

Persuading the media to expose Big Pharma is a gargantuan task. 3M blindsides with scientific lies, as Merck did; doctors who have damaged their patients won't admit fault; governments are in Big Pharma's pockets; the FDA is partially funded by Big Pharma "user fees"; and, with $20 billion (US) spent yearly on advertising in the US alone, much of the media is, and has long been, gagged by their sponsors.

To learn the truth, read the results of research done by the National Cancer Institute and The American Cancer Society. Their studies were reported by the US Health and Human Services National Toxicology Program and written up in their Report On Carcinogens (Eleventh Edition):

IQ is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, based on sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. IQ administered orally caused benign and malignant tumors in multiple species (mice, rats, and monkeys) and at multiple tissue sites, thus providing sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals.

There's more from the American Cancer Institute and National Cancer Research:

IQ (imiquimod) bound to DNA in many organs of cynomolgus monkeys and rodents dosed in vivo. In rodents treated in vivo, IQ induced DNA damage, gene mutation and DNA damage in animal cells in vitro. It induced mutations in Drosophila melanogaster and DNA damage and mutations in bacteria. Gene mutations in c.Ha-ras and p53 genes were found in some Zymbal gland carcinomas induced in rats by IQ.

The Bottom Line Wins Again
Yet, in spite of compelling evidence that Aldara is dangerous, 3M ignores the scientific proof and continues making millions from it, while claiming in promotional literature that, "[Aldara] is safe, effective, easy to use, and offers an alternative to treatments that destroy healthy skin." Really? They should have seen the thick, black crust on my entire nose after applying this "safe" cream to one tiny area; they should have observed me in anaphylactic shock; and they should have noted all of my other terrible reactions to their "safe" money-maker.

Dr Herbert Slade, Director of 3M's Pharmaceutical Division, had an entirely different story to tell when testifying under oath in US Federal Court. Lying would have resulted in a jail term, so he admitted the dangers, saying, "..the drug signal is quite non-specific. It doesn't have a signature, doesn't say you have a virus or you have a bacteria or even cancer. It just says you have got something that is not supposed to be there, and have a look at it, do something about it…."

When Dr Slade was asked if there were any studies where Aldara had been introduced directly into the bloodstream of humans, he answered, "Aldara would not be injected into the bloodstream." He went on to testify, "There are two reasons to give a drug (Aldara) by the IV route …One is to get something called absolute bioavailability … The other reason to give the drug intravenously to animals is to kill them." When Richard Beasley was near death, a 3M pharmacologist told him that by applying Aldara directly into his open wound, he had introduced Aldara into his bloodstream by what amounted to an IV delivery system of the drug. In other words, the same route 3M scientists use when killing experimental animals.

Richard Beasley Explains How Cytokine Disruption Affected Him
"The cytokine activity, plus the imiquimod molecules that reached my blood circulation, damaged the lining and villi inside my stomach and small intestine and damaged my colon. Because of this, I developed irritable bowel syndrome and celiac disease, with resultant loss of nutrient absorption. This created a frightening weight loss, which all my doctors told me was caused by the gross cytokine activity all over my body. I developed nerve damage, my tear ducts and sinus membranes were destroyed, I have lost 35% of my hearing and, worst of all, I ended up with Parkinson's Disease, and my brain has been seriously damaged. And I was in perfect health the day I went on Aldara. Two weeks later, I had all of this damage and nearly died in the hospital."

Has Your Digestion Been Destroyed by Aldara? There is Hope
Richard explains how his extreme weight loss was curtailed. "They found a very high bacterial growth in my stomach which was tested by a breathalyzer. This device measures the gasses given off by stomach bacteria, and it can quickly determine if there is an overgrowth of this bacteria in the stomach. In my case there was, and it led to bloating after meals, swelling of the stomach, and gas. The doctors were able to correct this by prescribing antibiotics."

Gwen Ward's Experience with Aldara
Gwen Ward, a lovely, 87-year-old diabetic, partially blind, war widow from Southport, Queensland, developed a skin cancer near her eye. She told me that she entrusted her care to a dermatologist who prescribed Aldara, acting against the recommendations of 3M to never prescribe use the drug on the face and not to prescribe it to elderly patients. It is nothing short of astounding that a physician would use any drug on so fragile a patient without checking the potential dangers carefully. A cursory glance at the Physician's Desk Reference would have shown the dermatologist that this drug has sinister side effects, and Mrs. Ward could have been spared weeks of pain. Because she wasn't warned, this poor woman woke after the first application with her face bloody and stuck to her pillow case, and she was so ill she couldn't eat. She discontinued the drug after only two applications, yet continued developing sores all over her face, and every night for weeks her sheets and pillowslips were covered in blood.

Another dermatologist from Robina, Queensland, was similarly unconcerned by my advanced age (77), the fact that Aldara was to go on my nose, right between my eyes (exactly where 3M says it should not go), and my admonition that I did not react well to drugs. I believe that both of these physicians, and any other health professionals who prescribe this dangerous salve, are committing malpractice. I told my dermatologist what Aldara did to me, making it clear that if he persists in prescribing Aldara, he will be culpable. It is my intention to make a directory of doctors who continue prescribing Aldara, in spite of all the evidence against it. Their names will appear on, and I hope everyone damaged by the combination of 3M and ignorant doctors will send me the names of prescribing doctors.

Pharmacists should not get off lightly, either. I was astounded by the smug attitude of the chemist at a pharmacy in Mudgeeraba, Queensland, when I told him Aldara nearly killed me and suggested that they should post a warning. The letters I sent to the CEOs of the three big Australian pharmacy chains were also a waste of effort: Andrew Vidler (Terry White), Elmo DeAllwis (AmCal), and Jeff Sher (Soul Pattinson) now know how dangerous Aldara is, and if they persist in selling it without a warning, they cannot plead ignorance.

Governments – Doctors – Please Pay Attention!
Aldara is uncontrollable and unpredictable in what it will destroy, and virtually without boundaries of pharmacological actions. In short, it is an experiment for the user each and every time it is applied. Other 3M officials even testified that, "There is no way to predict the outcome, nor the new patient's response prior to application." This clearly makes Aldara one of the most dangerous drugs on the market today. Because warnings and contraindications for this drug are totally insufficient, or non-existent, doctors are unaware of the unique pharmacological action of Aldara and are opening themselves up to personal injury lawsuits and, much more important, they are placing their patients (including babies!) at unimaginable risk. Using Aldara certainly placed me at risk and, even though the natural therapies I have used have been helpful, it is unlikely that I will ever fully recover the robust health and vitality I had pre-Aldara. My dermatologist and 3M have badly compromised my health and made a mess of my life for the last eight months, and it is my intention to join Richard Beasley's crusade and devote what time I have left to exposing the truth and warning people through the media, the Internet, and word-of-mouth. Will you help?

Warning: You are not home-free if you used Aldara on your body, rather than on your face. It is just more dangerous on the face and more dangerous if you are elderly.

Richard Beasley, after great effort, has compiled an amazing scientific Monograph which proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Aldara is incredibly dangerous. Any scientist or physician who reads it will be convinced that this drug must be banned and 3M discredited for concealing the truth. This important document can be found at

If you, or someone you know, have been damaged by Aldara, please send your story to Let us know the name of the prescribing physician and the pharmacy where you purchased it. See our website,, and spread the word to everyone you know. Help us fight back!

Elaine Hollingsworth is the author of Take Control of Your Health and Escape the Sickness Industry.

Elaine Hollingsworth
Director, Hippocrates Health Centre of Australia
P.O. Box 1400
Mudgeeraba, Qld
Australia 4213
(07) 5530-2939


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