Companies Receive FDA Warning Letters Over False Ebola Treatment Claims
Federal drug regulators indicate that several companies are attempting to dupe consumers striken with fear over the possibility of an ebola pandemic spreading out of West Africa, illegally marketing ebola treatments and cures in the United States.
The FDA issued warning letters to Natural Solutions Foundation, doTERRA International LLC, and Young Living, indicating that the companies are breaking the law by making misleading claims about potential treatments and cures for ebola.
The Ebola epidemic in West Africa has killed nearly 3,000 people since it began earlier this year. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that the ebola outbreak could infect 500,000 people by the end of January.
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Several Americans have been brought back to the U.S. seeking treatment from the devastating illness, raising some concerns that the outbreak may take root in the U.S. However, many health officials say that is unlikely, given the strength of the U.S. water, sanitation and emergency response systems.
Several companies have attempted to capitalize on the mounting ebola concerns, marketing products that claim to treat or cure the virus. However, no such products are approved as safe and effective by federal drug regulators.
New Jersey based Natural Solutions was issued a warning letter after promoting their product, Nano Silver, as a cure for the disease.
In messages written on the company’s websites, the organization claims that a Department of Defense funded a study in 2009 revealed “Nano Silver inhibits the ebola virus.” It also blatantly calls Nano Silver a “cure for ebola,” and indicates that it is the “definitive prevention and therapy for ebola virus,” and will help “alleviate the terrible pain of the disease.”
The FDA letter warns the company that it is illegal to make such claims without actually having “competent and reliable” scientific evidence to back it, as well as approval from the FDA. The agency says the company has none of those things.
Utah-based doTERRA was also issued a warning letter concerning the line of Essential Oil products including scents like, Oregano, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Peppermint, and others.
The FDA says the oils are promoted as treatments for certain condition. The company marketed many of the products as treatments for viral infections, including ebola, bacterial infections, cancer, brain injury, autism, Alzheimer’s Disease, tumor reduction and other conditions.
The companys’ website advertises the products with the marketing, “Fight your virus with essential oils.” It states oregano oil is “effective in activating non-enveloped murine norovirus within 1 hour of exposure,” and to treat “Ebola virus” as well.
Young Living essential oils company, based out of Utah, was also issued a letter earlier this week. The FDA warns the company against marketing any essential oil products for unapproved FDA applications.
The FDA found claims concerning the products on the company’s consultant’s websites. They included the claim, “Viruses (including Ebola) are no match for Young Living Essential Oils” and the claim that the oil product “Thieves” is “highly anti-microbial. . . It could help against Ebola.
The FDA has also found the claims widely used across social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook.
The agency has requested the companies respond to the warning letters informing the FDA of corrective actions the company plans to take to correct the violations noted. The warning also indicates failure to implement “lasting corrective action” may result in regulatory action being initiated.
The FDA and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) issued warnings to health care professionals and consumers in August that opportunists were trying to take advantage of Ebola fears. The agencies warned companies and consumers about increasing reports of Ebola treatments and cures which have not been documented or FDA approved.
Many of the fraudulent Ebola treatments are being sold online and in other marketplaces. Additionally, reports of scammers promoting stocks in companies that claim to have Ebola prevention products have also been received by the FINRA.
The Ebola virus is believed to have started in Guinea in March and spread to Liberia, Sierra Leon and Nigeria. The virus has no known cure, however several Americans were infected and treated with an experimental vaccine and are making a full recovery.
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