Seven companies received warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over claims that their products can treat or cure the novel coronavirus. There is currently no treatment nor vaccine approved for COVID-19, which has infected at least 109,577 people worldwide, although there are several in early development and under investigation.
However, the companies that received the warning letters claim that their teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver – which the FDA has previously warned against using – can help prevent, treat or even cure the novel coronavirus.
“There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus,” FTC chairman Joe Simons said in a news release. “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims.”
Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Army LLC, and The Jim Bakker Show all received the warning letters, marking the first to be issued by the FDA regarding coronavirus.
“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to public health,” FDA commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D., said in the news release. “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. We understand consumers are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and urge them to talk to their health care providers, as well as follow advice from other federal agencies about how to prevent the spread of this illness. We will continue to aggressively pursue those that place the public health at risk and hold bad actors accountable.”
The agencies requested that the seven companies respond in 48 hours with specific steps they’ve taken to correct the violations, and reminded consumers to be wary of products marketed to treat COVID-19.