Warning letters issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have been sent to several companies selling fraudulent products claiming to treat or prevent coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19).
The letters were sent to 7 companies: Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Amy LLC, and The Jim Bakker Show. The products sold by these companies include teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver, all of which carry claims related to the cure, treatment or prevention of serious illness related to COVID-19.
In an effort to curtail the sale of unapproved products, the FDA has established a task force to monitor the online marketplace for fraudulent COVID-19 products. “We have an aggressive surveillance program that routinely monitors online sources for health fraud products, especially during a significant public health issue such as this one,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD. “We will continue to aggressively pursue those that place the public health at risk and hold bad actors accountable.”
Fears about the COVID-19 outbreak have led to consumers buying up everything from face masks to hand sanitizer in an effort to protect themselves from the virus. In a press statement, the FDA warned that purchasing items from websites advertising “cures” for COVID-19 could potentially lead to delays in getting a proper diagnosis and treatment. “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”
Currently, the FDA has not approved any therapy for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19, although several potential vaccines and drug therapies are being investigated.
Healthcare professionals and consumers are urged to report adverse events related to the use of any of these fraudulent products to the MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program.
For more information visit fda.gov.