FDA warns businesses to stop claiming to prevent, treat and diagnose COVID-19

Posted at 2:05 PM, Aug 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-10 17:07:19-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - The FDA is warning that companies are preying on the fears people have about COVID-19 and producing products that they say help prevent, treat, diagnose and cure COVID-19.

The FDA says the claims are false and not scientifically proven.

The FDA says as of August 10, 102 warning letters have been sent to businesses stating that if they don’t make changes to the false claims within 48 hours, they will be subject to legal action.

The products include pills, sprays, essential oils, stem cell products and even home COVID-19 kits.

“I think this is a moment where they're rising to the challenge and they're doing quite a good job in terms of tracking down businesses that are making non evidence-based claims, selling products that are not approved by the FDA and issuing letters,” said Associate Professor at University of Minnesota Leigh Turner. He praised the FDA for taking action.

He recently wrote a journal article called, “Preying on Public Fears and Anxieties in a Pandemic: Businesses Selling Unproven and Unlicensed “Stem Cell Treatments” for COVID-19” in Cell Stem Cell.

“These are basically companies that are entering the marketplace, charging thousands or tens of thousands of dollars for products where there's not a credible basis for the claims that are being made. When you go on the websites and see what sorts of statements are being made, they're misleading they are deceptive, they’re persuasive and they're not backed by any kind of credible scientific reality,” said Tuner.

FDA said they’re working to find a vaccine and drugs that will prevent and treat COVID-19 as quickly as possible and offered some tips on how to identify false or misleading claims.

They said be suspicious of products that claim to treat a wide range of diseases and said personal testimonials are no substitute for scientific evidence.

They said few diseases or conditions can be treated quickly, so be suspicious of a “quick fix," and “miracle cures,” which claim scientific breakthroughs or contain secret ingredients, are likely a hoax.

Turner said many products are just a waste of money and useless, however some could potentially cause harm to humans.

The FDA wants you to report any suspicious products you find online click here to do that.

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