A handful of sellers have received warning letters from the Food and Drug Administration as well as the Federal Trade Commission over products they have claimed can cure, treat or prevent novel coronavirus.
There currently are no FDA-approved products being sold to treat or prevent COVID-19.
Four sellers, Herbs of Kedem, GBS dba Alpha Arogya India Pvt Ltd, Earthley Wellness dba Modern Alternative Mama LLC, and Gaia Arise Farms Apothecary, received warnings between April 10 and April 13 and were ordered to take “immediate action” to correct various violations. Five additional companies received letters between April 7 and April 8.
“We advise you to review your websites, product labels and other labeling and promotional materials to ensure that you are not misleadingly representing your products as safe and effective for a COVID-19-related use for which they have not been approved by FDA and that you do not make claims that misbrand the products in violation of the FD&C Act,” the letters said.
The letter further stated that the FDA was advising consumers not to purchase or use products that had not been approved, cleared or authorized by the agency, and are being misleadingly represented as safe and or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.
It’s not the first set of warnings the agencies have had to send out either, as at least 14 other companies have received such letters about touting false claims related to the coronavirus since late March. Several other medical bodies have stepped up the effort to stop the spread of fake coronavirus news online by setting up “Fact vs. Myth” type forums on their websites.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization, Johns Hopkins Medicine and dozens of others have kept their forums up-to-date with the latest information to dispel the rumors.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have also deployed tools to dismantle fake coronavirus news and stop the content from going viral. Still, dubious claims about treatment, cures and even where the virus originated from have gotten through. One theory gaining wild popularity is about how 5G technology is the true cause of the nearly 2 million illnesses worldwide.
“People are moving online in unprecedented numbers [and] the public health crisis is making it easier...to exploit people’s anxieties,” Alex Guirakhoo, strategy and research analyst at Digital Shadows, previously told Fox News.