LA settles case against business accused of selling non-FDA approved coronavirus test kits

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A company selling $249 kits purported to test for coronavirus has agreed to stop marketing the products and refund its customers after allegedly falsely claiming they were approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

California-based RootMD will stop selling the kits and will pay civil penalties, Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced Tuesday, days after filing a lawsuit against the company.

“With all the emphasis on the importance for increased testing for COVID-19, companies selling non-approved at-home test kits build false hopes, confusion and anxiety,” Feuer said.

LOS ANGELES, CA-AUGUST 22, 2017: Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer holds a news conference at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. (Photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA-AUGUST 22, 2017: Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer holds a news conference at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles. (Photo by Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has been warning Americans to avoid ads for at-home test kits. There is only one such test that has received FDA approval so far, and it was authorized just last week and requires a doctor’s order.

“In this crisis, Angelenos’ health depends on accurate, reliable information and legitimate products that can actually help them,” Feuer said.

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According to the FTC, “Most test kits being advertised have not been approved by the FDA, and aren’t necessarily accurate.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is also offering a “coronavirus self-checker” -- which is not a test kit but rather an automated online questionnaire that advises users on what to do about their symptoms.

Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 1 million as of Tuesday afternoon, with more than 57,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. There were more than 45,000 cases in California and nearly 1,800 deaths.

Symptoms can be mild or very severe. They primarily include cough, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing, according to the CDC. They can also carry a combination of two or more of the following: fever, chills, headache, sore throat, chills, muscle pain and the loss of taste or smell.

To reduce the risk of contracting the illness, health experts recommend staying home as often as possible, frequently washing your hands and social distancing by keeping at least 6 feet between yourself and other people.

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Additionally, both Los Angeles and California have implemented strict coronavirus shutdown restrictions to stifle the contagion’s spread.

They include the closures of nonessential businesses.

So far, 49 businesses have been charged with violating Los Angeles' stay-at-home order, according to Feuer’s office.