The FTC continues to monitor the marketplace to protect consumers from allegedly unsubstantiated COVID-19 claims. What are we seeing? Whether they’re selling tablets, treatments, or trinkets, companies are still making questionable representations about their products or services. The following 20 businesses are the latest to receive warning letters from the FTC about unsupported prevention or treatment claims, bringing the total to more than 330.
Age Management Institute Santa Barbara. On its website, on Facebook, and on Instagram, the company promoted intravenous Vitamin C and peptide therapy for the prevention of coronavirus. For example, it claimed, “IV Therapy drips have been proven incredibly effective in defending against COVID-19. It is best to use preventatively and has been shown to lower viral load by as much as 80% if and when virus’ [sic] occur.”
American Regenerative Clinic. On a webpage describing “Treatments for Coronavirus,” the Michigan clinic claimed, “Alternative treatments like stem cells and high dose ozone are proven to be highly effective against all germs including coronavirus. . . . Those solutions could be use[d] not only for treatment, but as prophylaxis measures for elderly and people with compromised immune systems.”
Bombshell Beads. Bracelets to help stave off coronavirus? That’s what Tennessee-based Bombshell Beads claimed. According to a Facebook Live video, “I have a list of bracelets that are going to help you with your immune health and breathing and respiratory issues, which is what we need with the Corona-Borona…. So we’re going to go over beads that you should be wearing to boost your immunity and to help with lung and respiratory issues…. I have… four for immunity health… five for respiratory and breathing health…. These are what you should be investing in right this dang damned minute. You are going to take your health back…”
CampTUF. To promote its online and in-person fitness classes and personal training, the Texas company claimed on Instagram, “Coach Z made a little something to show everyone how we FIGHT & PREVENT COVID-19 . . . Working out/exercise increases the immune system exponentially! To NOT workout is nearly the same thing as sneezing onto another person without having on a mask . . . Exercise eliminates the virus if you have it and prevents the spread for others that don’t . . . .”
C’est Si Bon Company (Best Chlorella). The Torrance, California, company promoted two supplements – Chlorenergy and AstaVibrance – as a “Natural strategy for Covid-19!” In addition, it posted a photo on Facebook of what appeared to be cases of Chlorenergy prepared for shipment with the statement, “Airfreight to London Heathrow Int’l Airport! Chlorenergy, kick out the Corona virus and exterminate it !!!”
Copper H2O. The Blaine, Washington, business promoted copper water bottles on its website, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Pinterest. Among other representations, the company claimed, “Did you know that copper kills germs and bacteria and can therefore help you avoid the flu, colds and other viruses, including the coronavirus (COVID-19)?”
Dr. Daniela Dadurian, MD/MDBeautyLabs.com. Florida-based MD Beauty Labs ran a sponsored story in The Palm Beach Post titled “Peptides and other options to boost your immune system.” According to the article, “The reality of the Corona Virus Covid-19 has caused a lot of fear and a feeling of helplessness.” In the article, the company promoted a variety of products and treatments it sold as a way to “boost our immune system so that we can improve our chances to fight off disease.”
The Fuel Stop. The New York company promoted multiple products and therapies on its website, on Facebook, and on Instagram. For example, The Fuel Stop claimed, “Two of our most popular treatments – our Ozone Therapy and our 2500 mg Vitamin C IV drips have been shown to fight against Corona Virus! . . . The best part about both Ozone and Vitamin C, is that they serve as preventative as well as curative medicine, bolstering the immune system and supporting you to #bebionic every day.”
Hector Gotay Feliciano. On Facebook, the Puerto Rico-based marketer promoted water and air filtration products by claiming “Gotay’s group system viene atacando duro al coronavirus!!! . . . Mantengase [sic] sano usted y su familia. Haci que [sic] purifica tu agua y purifica tu aire con GOTAY’S GROUP SYSTEM matamos el virus!!!” (“Gotay’s group system comes attacking the coronavirus hard!!! . . . Keep you and your family healthy. So [sic] purify your water and purify your air with GOTAY’S GROUP SYSTEM we kill the virus!!!”)
Health and Wellness of Carmel. According to its website, the Carmel, Indiana, company claimed to offer “the first SARS-CoV-2 immunotherapy to protect individuals from developing COVID-19! This is using IST technique, which is extremely safe and does not have the potential dangers of traditional vaccines.”
I B Tan. The Citrus Heights, California, company promoted its indoor tanning and red light therapy services on Facebook by stating, “COME IN AND GET SOME MUCH NEEDED UV TO HELP FIGHTS [sic] OFF VIRUSES INCLUDING COVID-19.” According to the company, “One of the treatments for COVID is UV light which is received from tanning as well as Vitamin D which is needed to help fight off viruses.”
Integrative Health Carolinas. On its website and on social media, Integrative Health Carolina promoted a video called “My Positive Covid Test Story” with this introduction: “Last month, Kelley tested positive for Covid. These supplements helped her recovery and helped protect her family from getting Covid. Watch Kelley’s Story.” The video – which identified Kelley as “Director for Health and Wellness for Dr. Ana-Maria Temple at Integrative Health Carolina,” advertised four products the company sold – Liquid Vitamin D3 with K2, SBI Protect Powder, Buffered Lemon C Powder, and Zinc liquid 15 mg.
Karen Martí Reyes. In Facebook posts promoting the Aura Cebilon water filtration system, Ms. Reyes claimed, “La solución para el corona virus: Necesitas un entorno alcalino para fortalecer tu Sistema inmunológico y luchar contra cualquier enfermedad. Nosotros te podemos brindar el Agua 100% Alcalina PH10.” (“The solution for the corona virus: You need an alkaline environment to strengthen your immune system and fight against any disease. We can provide you with 100% Alkaline PH10 Water.”)
Murfreesboro Bio Renew Clinic. The Tennessee clinic advertised “Thymosin Alpha 1 Peptide Therapy” as a “Promising Treatment for Covid-19.” In addition, in social media it promoted products it sold as “BEST PEPTIDES FOR COVID-19 PREVENTION.”
Park Avenue Skin Solutions. The New York office made a variety of COVID-related claims for products and services it sells, including Thymosin Alpha 1 peptide therapy, vitamin B12 injections, Endolaser IV therapy, vitamin C IV therapy, and ozone therapy. For example, in an Instagram Stories Highlight titled “COVID-19,” the company asked the question, “What can we do to boost our immune systems during the #coronavirus pandemic!?” and responded, “ENDO LASER + OZONE IV = stimulates the immune response. Ozone and the Blue Laser wavelength are also antiviral!”
Revive Colorado. On its website, on Twitter, and on Facebook, the Denver company touted “THYMOSIN ALPHA-1 COVID-19 PROTECTION.” Furthermore, in emails, the company stated, “COVID-19 (CORONAVIRUS) WHAT WE’RE DOING FOR YOU… SCHEDULE AN IV OR SERIES OF BOOSTER SHOTS. The powerful combination of ingredients in our Vitamindrip® IV Infusions may help shorten the duration of a virus attack and help you feel better faster.”
Dr. Howard Robins. Linking to an article that stated, “There already exist numerous ways to reliably prevent, mitigate, and even cure COVID-19, including in late-stage patients who are already ventilator-dependent . . . ,” the New York podiatrist promoted ozone-related therapies on his website. In addition, in a blog post that asked “Is there any way we can prepare if COVID-19 continues to spread?” he promoted a probiotic product called “Doctor’s Biome.”
Tribeca Wellness. New York’s Tribeca Wellness Collective promoted its Curos Immunity Packs and other products as “the best options we have while we keep learning more and more about COVID prevention, treatment, and spread.” In addition, on Instagram and in an Instagram Stories Highlight, the company touted products and services it sold with text like “WHAT’S BEEN WORKING,” “TREATING COVID-19,” and “FACT CHECKING: Wellness Treatments vs. Treatments That Can CURE COVID.”
Vibrant Life Oklahoma. The Claremore, Oklahoma, office claimed on Facebook, “Case Report out of Germany on COVID19 Patient using Laser Therapy. This is part of our Lumen Therapy package available right here in the US!” Vibrant Life Oklahoma shared numerous other posts about products and therapies that purportedly treat coronavirus, often with statements like “We Already performed this therapy” and “Hey guys I have this technology at the ranch . . . .”
Robert O. Young. In promoting products and consultations, the Valley City, California, practitioner stated, “Over-acidity causes every disease and ALL dis-ease…In a few words, without systemic interstitial fluid acidosis of the Interstitium organ, there can be no sickness or disease and there can be NO CANCER! NO HEART ATTACK! NO STROKE! NO DIABETES! NO DEMENTIA! NO SEPSIS, NO ALS, NO ALZHEIMERS, NO COVID -19, in other words, NO DIS-EASE!...All diseases are ONE!…There is only one sickness, one disease, and NOW only one treatment…. The one treatment is to alkalize and energize with the pH Miracle Lifestyle Plan….”
What’s the next step for those 20 companies? As the warning letters explain, it’s a violation of the FTC Act to represent expressly or by implication that a product or service can prevent, treat, or cure a disease unless the advertiser has 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.” According to the letters:
For COVID-19, no such study is currently known to exist for the product or service identified above. Thus, any coronavirus-related prevention or treatment claims regarding such product or service are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence. You must immediately cease making all such claims.
Furthermore, the warning letters advised the recipients to “review all other claims for your products and services and immediately cease making claims that are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.”