Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) issued over twenty warning letters to companies located in both the United States and abroad for allegedly selling unapproved products that may violate federal law by making deceptive or scientifically unsupported claims about their ability to treat coronavirus (COVID-19).
The companies subject to the FDA’s warning letters include CBD sellers and companies selling colloidal silver, salt therapy, essential oils, and chlorine dioxide products. The companies’ products, which the FDA described as “unapproved and unauthorized” and “intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19 in people” were marketed with such claims as: cannabis “speeds recovery” from COVID-19; CBD boosts T-cells with “powerful weapons” that could ward off COVID-19; “Colloidal silver is the key to protecting yourself from the corona virus”; “Saline therapy strengthens the lungs to fight against the novel Coronavirus”; and “…we are confident that the proper mixture of chlorine dioxide (MMS) has every hope of eradicating COVID-19.”
Despite the companies’ claims, according to the FDA, there currently are no products that are scientifically proven to treat or prevent the virus. The FDA’s letters order the companies to “immediately cease making all such claims” and to respond within forty-eight hours describing the specific steps they have taken to correct their violations or risk legal action, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction.
Takeaway: The onslaught of warning letters issued last month, which show no signs of slowing, illustrates the FDA’s continued effort to aggressively protect consumers from companies making bogus coronavirus treatment claims and from preying upon consumers desperately looking for any potential treatments against the virus, which has already infected over 3.5 million people worldwide.