Don't buy these 'false' coronavirus treatment claims, FTC warns
Feds target unsubstantiated COVID-19 treatment claims
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If a product claims that its “healing frequencies” can protect you from COVID-19 or that a face brush can “fight off” the coronavirus, it probably can’t back up those promises.
The Federal Trade Commission said it has sent warning letters to more than 25 companies to stop making unsubstantiated claims that their products could prevent or treat COVID-19.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said there are currently no products scientifically proven to prevent or treat the coronavirus. Andrew Smith, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said it was “shameful to take advantage of people by claiming that a product prevents, treats or cures COVID-19.”
“We’re seeing these false claims for all sorts of products, but anyone who makes them simply has no proof and is likely just after your money,” Smith said.
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The latest round of letters went to 10 companies, including:
- Bioenergy Wellness Miami, which claimed its product “Corona Virus Immune System Boost Covid19” was developed by “the man who cured cancer” and that it would “destroy” viruses with sound frequencies;
- Face Vital LLC, which sold silicone face brushes on Amazon that it claimed could “fight off coronavirus;”
- LightAir International AB, which claimed is IonFlow air purifiers “are scientifically proven to efficiently prevent spread of air-borne viruses” such as the coronavirus;
- MedQuick Labs LLC, which advertised products it claimed could “boost your immune system” to protect against illnesses like the coronavirus;
- New Performance Nutrition, which claimed its “anti-virus kit” “will target and increase your immunity to help ward off the COVID-19 virus;”
- PuraTHRIVE LLC, which claimed wrote on its website that “the coronavirus can be dramatically slowed or stopped completely” with high doses of Vitamin C;
- Resurgence Medical Spa LLC, which claimed its Vitamin C treatments could “help prevent” and “effectively reduce the symptoms” of the coronavirus;
- Rocky Mountain IV Medics, which claimed its Vitamin C treatments “are starting to show promising results” for the coronavirus;
- Suki Distribution Pte. Ltd., which claimed the drug Cepharanthine “can be applied for the prevention and treatment of human coronavirus infection" and
- Vita Activate, which claimed its chaga mushrooms “may prevent invaders such as the corona virus.”
The companies’ claims aren’t backed up by scientific evidence and violate the FTC Act, the FTC wrote in the letters. If the companies don’t stop making the claims, officials said they may seek an injunction to force them to refund customers.
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Consumer complaints to the FTC have spiked since the coronavirus pandemic has spread in the U.S. The commission said it had received more than 17,000 complaints since the start of the year, accounting for more than $13 million in losses to fraud.
Pharmaceutical companies have also been racing to develop treatments and vaccines for the coronavirus. However, drugmakers have said those vaccines likely won't be ready until sometime in 2021.
In the meantime, there were more than 592,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. as of Tuesday, and more than 24,000 people in the U.S. had died from the virus.