Coronavirus claims for zappers, virus-busting cards, sage, oregano, and bay leaves are among the representations called into question in the latest round of warning letters sent by FTC staff. With the total closing in on 300, the letters make it clear that companies need to clean up their claims about preventing or curing COVID-19. Here are the products and promises that have raised the most recent concerns.
The1VirusBuster. Citing statistics on the proliferation of coronavirus, the company promoted The 1 Virus Buster Cards as “safe, simple, and effective. All you need to do is hang it on your neck or attach it to your collar, close to your mouth and nose. If used correctly, it kills 99.99% of most harmful bacteria and viruses, which live in the air you breathe, within a three-foot radius.”
Active Lifestyle Clinic. In marketing materials titled “Learn about our COVID-19 protocol,” the Phoenix clinic promoted ozone therapy as an “effective, safe, and affordable way to treat virus and infection . . . .”
Dave Asprey. In a letter sent in care of Seattle-based Bulletproof 360, Inc., FTC staff cited blog posts, including one about “how to hack coronavirus.” The website touted a variety of products, including andrographis, sage, oregano, bay leaves, and a formulation called Bulletproof.
Back 2 Health Family Wellness Center. A video on the New Jersey office’s YouTube channel claimed to show consumers “how to improve your immune system to fight any virus including the corona virus or Covid 19.” On a webpage with the heading “Corona Virus Covid-19 and Chiropractic,” the company touted “regular chiropractic adjustments” as a way “you may lessen the severity or duration if you do happen to get sick.”
Bottom Line Inc. In promoting products it sells, the Connecticut company stated, “[A]ccording to the NIH, there is significant data showing that melatonin limits virus-related diseases and would also likely be beneficial in COVID-19 patients.” In addition, the company claimed that astragalus, quercetin, elderberry, and zinc “help prevent the virus from entering your cells by blocking the receptors where it tries to dig in.”
Breiner Whole-Body Health. After referring to “the new coronavirus spreading worldwide,” a video on the Connecticut company’s website claimed, “We have several IV drips that can . . . help prophylactically as well as IVs that can be used if you have a current infection.” On a Facebook post, the company said that for consumers who take intravenous Vitamin C, “the viruses themselves will just . . . get overwhelmed and die.”
CoviDoctors. The Lubbock-based business advertised on its website “Get the same herbal formulas used in Chinese hospitals for treatment and prevention of Covid-19.” The company also promoted three products it claimed were based on “research from China on advanced formulas for prevention of coronavirus infection.”
Fortifeye Vitamins. On its website, the Florida business warned consumers that “this cytokine storm when you have this virus attacks your lungs, your heart, your brain . . . you could die.” The company promoted a variety of products as “natural approaches to help fight against this viral invasion,” including its Fortifeye Super Immune Wellness bundle, described as “the big daddy, the king daddy.”
Gesundheit Nutrition Center. In describing “things you can do to protect yourself from becoming infected by this CoronaVirus or any other virus for that matter,” the Montana company recommended products it sells, including “Oil of Oregano, Olive Leave Extract, Elderberry, Sovereign Silver, Garlic, Astragalus, and Cat’s Claw.”
Hackbart Chiropractic. On a webpage with the heading “Improved Immunity During Covid-19,” the Nebraska clinic stated, “There are many things you can do but what is the single most effective option? Get Adjusted!” It continued, “Develop a good offense through chiropractic so you can have the upper hand over COVID-19.”
Hyde Park Holistic Center. A webpage for the Georgia clinic included the heading “Possible Natural Solution” to coronavirus and recommended four products available from its online store: AdvaClear, which contains EGCG; Sinuplex, which contains quercetin; Zinc AG; and Ultra Potent [Vitamin] C.
Dr. Rozita Moshtagh. In a warning letter sent to Dr. Moshtagh at San Diego’s Naturopathic Medicine Clinic, FTC staff cited claims on her website – for example, “We offer Anti COVID-19/Anti Coronavirus Natural Antivirals and IV Therapy” and “Schedule Your High Dose IV Vitamin C. KEEP Covid-19 AWAY.”
Natural Health Center of Clifton. In a Facebook post titled “Coronavirus: How to Protect Yourself,” the New Jersey center promoted its “CoronaVirus Protocol” as “specifically designed to BOOST your immune system and ward off viruses.” It also recommended chiropractic adjustment as a way to “Boost Your Immune System & Protect Yourself Against The CoronaVirus.”
NaturalHealthSupply.com. The Maine company promoted its Zapper and Food Zappicator as devices that could prevent or treat coronavirus by using certain frequencies to kill viruses.
NSideOut Health. Using hashtags #coronakiller, #coronacure, or #covidcure on Instagram posts, the Atlanta company promoted its elderberry syrup, elderberry elixir, elderberry seamoss gel, and black seed oil as “ideal for everyday use but especially during this pandemic . . . .”
Provita Health Store. On its webpage, the company described the health risks posed by COVID-19 and recommended the VariZapper, a device “to remove viruses.” Using the hashtag #coronavirus, the product was promoted on Instagram as a “#frequencygenerator device that removes #pathogens from the body.”
Silver Cancer Institute & Center for Chronic Disease. In promoting ozone therapy as part of its “Emergency protocol for CORONA VIRUS,” the Arizona company cited “new peer reviewed literature” and recommended “oxidative therapy with intravenous ozone,” which “quite effectively killed [the] virus.”
UWell Life, Inc. On its website, the California company claimed consumers could “Prevent Corona Virus with Primocyn.”
Whole Word Botanicals. In marketing materials titled “4 Things You Can Do at Home to Ease Coronavirus and Pneumonia Symptoms,” the New York company recommended camu camu, cat’s claw, and desmodium. The website also featured a testimonial claiming that two healthcare workers who had contracted COVID-19 had taken the products and “Three days later their fevers were gone and their oxygen levels were almost back to normal!”
Xlear. In a YouTube video titled “There is a Simpler, Cheaper Way to Deal with COVID-19,” the Utah company claimed that “a Utah State University study found that a nasal spray like Xlear reduced the COVID-19 virus to ‘an undetectable amount’ in 15 minutes.”
Like the hundreds of warning letters FTC staff has already sent, the latest letters get down to brass tacks:
It is unlawful under the FTC Act . . . to advertise that a product or service can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless you possess competent and reliable scientific evidence, including, when appropriate, well-controlled human clinical studies, substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made. For COVID-19, no such study is currently known to exist for the product identified above. Thus, any coronavirus-related prevention claims regarding such products are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. You must immediately cease making all such claims.
The FTC has already filed suit against a company that received a warning letter and failed to make material changes to its COVID-19 claims. Looking for more compliance resources? Visit the FTC’s Business Guidance During Coronavirus portal.