The FDA and Federal Trade Commission are warning several companies for selling fraudulent products that claim to help prevent or treat novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The two agencies issued warning letters to seven companies: The Jim Bakker Show, Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, and Herbal Amy LLC.
“The FDA is particularly concerned that products that claim to cure, treat or prevent serious diseases like COVID-19 may cause consumers to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment, leading to serious and life-threatening harm,” the FDA says in a press release.
The products cited in the warning letters are teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver. The FDA has previously warned that colloidal silver is not safe or effective for treating any disease or condition.
“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health,” says FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, MD. “We understand consumers are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and urge them to talk to their healthcare 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.”
Because there is already 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,” says FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “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.”
There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, FDA said. “Although there are investigational COVID-19 vaccines and treatments under development, these investigational products are in the early stages of product development and have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.”