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FTC and FDA Warn Against False Covid Claims

As federal courts slowly begin to reopen in phases, the government’s pursuit of Covid fraud continues apace.

In particular, two agencies—the Federal Trade Commission and the Food and Drug Administration—are issuing warning letters to businesses selling or marketing products that purport to treat or prevent Covid-19. Think oils, herbs, vitamins, minerals, or supplements. But it can be anything.

Be careful because they’re not just talking snake-oil stuff. Sure, some of the alleged violations seem blatant: “Use [this oil] to fight coronavirus!” But some do not: “Stock up on [these vitamins] and take steps to strengthen your immune system so you are prepared if you should be exposed to coronavirus.” I don’t know. Maybe you should avoid mentioning Covid altogether if you can help it. Talk about fighting off viruses generally, instead.

The warning letters demand that you stop making whichever claims and confirm your compliance within 48 hours. To do that, you must describe the corrective action you’ve taken and include documentation. If you can’t do that within 48 hours, you can ask for more time. But in the meantime, the agencies will publish your name online among other businesses who’ve received such letters.

Or, if you think your claims do not violate the law, you can explain your position.

But I would consult a lawyer first.

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