SILVER SPRING, MD (WCBD) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to seven companies, including televangelist Jim Bakker, for selling fraudulent products they claim treat or prevent COVID-19.
The FDA said these products are unapproved drugs that pose a significant risk to patient health and also violates federal law.
“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health,” said FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn, M.D. “We have an aggressive surveillance program that routinely monitors online sources for health fraud products, especially during a significant public health issue such as this one.”
Those products include teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver.
“There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus,” said FTC Chairman Joe Simons. “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. These warning letters are just the first step. We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam.”
The FDA is particularly concerned that products that claim to cure, treat or prevent serious diseases like COVID-19 may cause consumers to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment, leading to serious and life-threatening harm.
The FDA and Federal Trade Commission said it has requested these companies respond in 48 hours describing the specific steps they have taken to correct the violations.
They said companies that sell products that fraudulently claim to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19 may be subject to legal action, including but not limited to seizure or injunction.
Public health officials say there are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19.
While there are investigational COVID-19 vaccines and treatments under development, the FDA says these products are in the early stages of product development and have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.
The companies listed in that warning include:
- Vital Silver
- Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd.
- Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics
- GuruNanda, LLC
- Vivify Holistic Clinic
- Herbal Amy LLC
- The Jim Bakker Show
“We understand consumers are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 and urge them to talk to their health care providers, as well as follow advice from other federal agencies about how to prevent the spread of this illness. We will continue to aggressively pursue those that place the public health at risk and hold bad actors accountable,” Dr. Hahn said.