The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warned seven companies for allegedly selling fraudulent unapproved treatment for novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Tuesday, the two federal regulators sent warning letters to Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., N-ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Amy LLC, and The Jim Bakker Show.
The FDA and the FTC reviewed the websites and social media pages of these companies and discovered that they are making deceptive or scientifically unproven claims that their products can diagnose, mitigate, prevent, cure or treat people infected with the novel coronavirus. These companies are advertising or selling products including teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver.
Currently, there are no approved drugs, investigational products or vaccines available to prevent or cure the novel coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In the warnings letters, the federal regulators told the seven companies that they may have violated certain provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), which prohibits the sale of products without the approval or authorization of the FDA.
The FDA and the FTC ordered the seven companies to stop the sale of the unapproved/unauthorized products to diagnose, mitigate, prevent or cure COVID-19.
Fraudulent novel coronavirus products are “threat to public health”
In a statement, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D. said the agency “considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health. 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. The FDA’s laws are designed to protect the public health by ensuring, among other things, that drugs are safe and effective for their intended uses.”
Dr. Hanh is encouraging consumers to talk to their health care providers regarding their concerns about the spread of COVID-19 and to follow the advice from other federal agencies on how to prevent the spread of the illness.
On the other hand, FTC Commissioner Joe Simons said, “There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus. What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. These warning letters are just the first step. We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”