The Federal Trade Commission announced it has sent letters warning 20 more marketers nationwide to stop making unsubstantiated claims that their products and therapies can prevent or treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. This is the ninth set of warning letters the FTC has announced as part of its ongoing efforts to protect consumers from health-related COVID-19 scams. In all, the Commission has sent similar letters to more than 330 companies and individuals.
Some of the letters announced today target products and “treatments” the FTC has warned companies about previously, including intravenous (IV) Vitamin C infusions, ozone therapy, and supplements. Others challenge claims that more obscure products and therapies can prevent or treat COVID-19. For example, in this round of mailings, warning letters went to companies claiming that everything from copper water bottles to personal training, bead bracelets, and water filtration systems can fight the disease. However, currently there is no scientific evidence that these products or services can prevent or treat the disease.
The FTC sent the letters announced today to the companies and individuals listed below. The recipients are grouped based on the type of therapy, product, or service they pitched as preventing or treating COVID-19.
Copper Water Bottles:
Fitness Classes/Personal Training:
Indoor Tanning/Red Light Therapy/Intravenous Ultraviolet Light Therapy:
Peptide Therapies/Intravenous Vitamin Drips and Injections/Intravenous Laser Therapy:
- Age Management Institute Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA)
- MD Beauty Labs, P.A. (W. Palm Beach, FL)
- Murfreesboro Bio Renew Clinic (Murfreesboro, TN)
- Park Avenue Skin Solutions (New York, NY)
- Revive Colorado (Denver, CO)
- Tribeca Wellness Collective (New York, NY)
Ozone Therapy/Stem Cell Therapy and Immunotherapy/Intravenous Therapy:
- American Regenerative Clinic (Bingham Farms, MI)
- Health and Wellness of Carmel (Carmel, IN)
- Howard Robins, DPM (New York, NY)
- The Fuel Stop (New York, NY)
- C’est Si Bon Company (Torrance, CA)
- Integrative Health Carolinas (Charlotte, NC)
- Robert O. Young (Valley Center, CA)
Water Filtration Systems:
- Hector Gotay Feliciano, dba Gotay’s Group Systems and Cebilon Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)
- Karen Martí Reyes, dba Cebilon Y Vivenso #1Germany Sistem “Premios Awars [sic] 2020” (Puerto Rico)
In the letters, the FTC states that one or more of the efficacy claims made by the marketers are unsubstantiated because they are not supported by scientific evidence, and therefore violate the FTC Act. The letters advise the recipients to immediately stop making all claims that their products can prevent or treat COVID-19, and to notify the Commission within 48 hours about the specific actions they have taken to address the agency’s concerns.
The letters also note that if the false claims do not cease, the Commission may seek a federal court injunction and an order requiring money to be refunded to consumers. Last April, the FTC announced its first such case against a marketer of a purported COVID-19 treatment, Marc Ching, doing business as Whole Leaf Organics. The case was settled in early July, with Ching agreeing to an order barring him from making the allegedly deceptive claims.
In July, the FTC filed a federal court complaint against California-based Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical, Inc. alleging that the seller was falsely advertising its $23,000 Emergency-D Virus treatment as an “FDA Accepted” plan for treating COVID-19. The complaint alleges that the company continued to market its COVID-19 treatment even after receiving a warning letter from the FTC in April 2020.
In addition, the FTC recently announced several federal court cases filed against marketers who allegedly make false promises about being able to quickly fulfill orders for facemasks and other personal protective equipment. One of those actions also included charges against the sellers of a product called “Basic Immune IGG” that claimed to treat or prevent COVID-19 and have FDA approval, according to the FTC’s complaint.
Finally, last week, at the FTC’s request, a federal court in Ohio has issued a temporary restraining order against 25 counterfeit websites that allegedly have been playing on consumers’ COVID-19 pandemic fears to trick them into paying for Clorox and Lysol products that the defendants never deliver.
The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition and protect and educate consumers. Learn more about consumer topics at consumer.ftc.gov, or report fraud, scams, and bad business practices at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Follow the FTC on social media, read consumer alerts and the business blog, and sign up to get the latest FTC news and alerts.