Pharmacy Services Alerts
Fraudulent products targeting COVID-19 marketed in the US
Mar 27, 2020 9:53 AM
On March 24, 2020 the FDA issued a consumer update addressing products marketed to consumers in the US that claim to treat, cure, prevent, or test for COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019). The FDA has not approved any treatments or vaccines for COVID-19 as of yet. While there are approved tests available for diagnosing COVID-19, there are no approved at-home tests. The only way to obtain an approved test for COVID-19 or for any type of treatment is through a health care provider.
The FDA is currently evaluating several treatments and vaccines for safety and efficacy against COVID-19. These products are still considered investigational and are not available on the consumer market. Any statement that a marketed product treats or prevents COVID-19 is illegal and such products should be avoided. The FDA also advises against the use of any product that is labeled for veterinary or research use only. There are reports of people using a chloroquine phosphate product that is marketed as a treatment for parasites in fish. Use of this product in humans in an attempt to prevent or treat COVID-19 can result in severe illness or death. Prescription chloroquine is appropriate to use when prescribed by a health care provider for a legitimate medical need. Other products implicated in these fraudulent claims are colloidal silver, essential oils, teas, tinctures, and unapproved tests (pictures of specific products are available on the FDA Consumer Update link below). The dangers of fraudulent COVID-19 testing include unknowingly spreading the disease due to false negatives or failing to seek appropriate treatment. The FDA and Federal Trade Commission are monitoring for products on social media and online marketplaces that claim to treat, prevent, or test for COVID-19. They have issued several warning letters to companies already and are prepared to protect consumers through seizure of products as well. Health care workers and consumers can report any suspected fraudulent COVID-19 products to the FDA's Health Fraud Program or Office of Criminal Investigations (FDA-COVID-19-Fraudulent-Products@fda.hhs.gov)
More information is available at the following links: