• The FDA and FTC issued joint warning letters to seven companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019) products. The warning letters were sent to 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 cited in the warning letters range from teas, essential oils, tinctures, to colloidal silver.
  • The agencies asserted that the products pose significant health risks to patients and are unapproved drugs intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure, or diagnose COVID-19 in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, 21 U.S.C. 355(a). The FDA and FTC requested the companies respond in 48 hours describing the specific steps they have taken to correct the violations. In addition to following up with companies that fail to make adequate corrections, the agencies will monitor social media, online marketplaces, and incoming complaints to ensure fraudulent products are not on the market.
  • In regard to the warning letters, FTC Chairman Joe Simons stated “[t]here 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.”
  • In their press release, the FDA reminds consumers to be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to prevent, mitigate, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19. There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19. An FDA cross-agency task force has been established to closely monitor for fraudulent products related to COVID-19. The task force has been in contact with major retailers asking for help in monitoring online marketplaces for fraudulent products claiming to combat coronavirus. The task force has already worked with some major retailers to remove more than three dozen listings of fraudulent COVID-19 products.