The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission clamped down on companies the government says are selling fraudulent COVID-19 products.
The agencies sent warning letters Monday to seven companies: Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Amy LLC, and The Jim Bakker Show.
“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health. 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,” FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen M. Hahn said in a statement. “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 companies were given 48 hours to respond to the warning letters and describe how they will take corrective action.
NBC10 reached out to all seven businesses that were sent letters. Four responded with statements saying the companies that addressed the FDA's warning letter.
“We are not selling any treatment products,” Amy Weidner with Herbal Amy Inc. told NBC10. “We sell herbs and within the herbal product description, I simply quoted an herbalist. That quote has been removed to adhere to the FDA requirements. We are now in compliance. Because it's an all natural herbal product, the FDA does not want me to quote anyone saying anything in the product description that would insinuate that it treats, mitigates or cures any diseases."
“Upon becoming aware of the joint FDA/FTC warning letter posted by the FDA, GuruNanda immediately removed any information related to treatment or prevention of COVID-19 and the coronavirus," GuruNanda said in a statement. "GuruNanda, at all times, strives to be compliant with the law and will continue to work with the FDA and the FTC to ensure compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.”
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“We make no claims of any product for the ability to prevent, treat, or cure human disease. Nothing we offer for sale is intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19 in people. Our website has addressed all issues pointed out in the letter," N-Ergetics said in an email.
"I was unaware that my company was violating FDA standards, or that any of the statements could be considered fraudulent," Vital Silver owner Jennifer Hickman said in an email. "As per the FDA's request, I have removed all statements concerning the COVID-19 from my website and social media outlets."
In its release the FDA wrote, “There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19. 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.”