On the heels of a waterfall of “warning letters” by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to American enterprises making unsubstantiated claims that their products and therapies can treat or prevent COVID-19, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said, today, that treatment and cure scams will only get worse unless the feds take the kid-gloves off and cite the unprecedented pandemic as reason to consider tougher action.
“A waterfall of warnings by the FTC against companies peddling bogus and potentially dangerous claims to treat or cure the coronavirus look like they are barely having a ripple effect in the marketplace,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “And the drip-drip-drip of outrageous claims might only get worse if the feds don’t take the kid-gloves off and punch back against these coronavirus scammers. Those who prey on the public receive warning letters—when amid this pandemic—the case has to be made to levy heavy fines. The FTC needs to announce a no-nonsense campaign.”
Schumer revealed that since March, dozens upon dozens of warning letters have been issued to companies by the FTC for outrageous health claims that could cost people money—or worse. Schumer said that the FTC should be more seriously considering fines in order to send a stronger message to the marketplace. Schumer said that whether a company disputes a fine or pays it, the marketplace would take notice of the crackdown and thus these non-stop, outrageous claims could temper. Schumer detailed some of the outrageous claims, the warning letters to date and the need for action as he made the case for tougher consequences.
On May 07, 2020, the FTC announced it had sent “45 more” warning letters to marketers nationwide to stop making unsubstantiated claims that their products and therapies can treat or prevent COVID-19. The FTC said that those letters were their “fourth set” of warning letters they have sent out to sellers of bogus products as part of ongoing efforts to protect consumers from COVID-19 related scams. In all, the FTC says it has sent out dozens upon dozens of these kinds of warnings.
According to the FTC, several of the letters announced on the 7th targeted “treatments,” including Chinese herbal medications, music therapy, homeopathic treatments, and even shields claimed to boost the immune system by protecting the wearer from electromagnetic fields. On these claims, the FTC vociferously said there was no scientific evidence to support such claims.
One Florida company was offering IV injections of Vitamin C. According to the FTC, their claims read as follows:
“Vitamin C Infusion for COVID-19 Detox VIP is offering a Vitamin C 25000+ mg IV infusion for patients to boost their immune systems. If you are looking for a way to increase your natural defenses against COVID-19 (Coronavirus), call today to schedule this powerful treatment!”
Schumer said even claims that promise music frequencies can cure the virus are being sold for profits. According to the FTC, the company was selling “program frequencies” to attack the virus. Their claim read as follows:
“New program now available from musicalmedicine.net for coronavirus. Designed to boost your immune system and weaken the virus. Play through speakers to broadcast to as many people and surfaces as possible. Available as CD or download. . . . A program of frequencies to resist the Coronavirus.”
And a New York company peddling a bee pollen-type cure attempted to sell treatment with what it called “royal jelly.” The claim said: “Our 3 in 1 mix is formulated with the highest quality and pure ingredients! PROPOLIS to support your immune system, ROYAL JELLY to boost your energy and cognitive functions and RAW HONEY to preserve both! Consume a tablespoon daily during the Coronavirus outbreak.”
Schumer said these are just a few of the egregious claims being sold to susceptible people who might be desperate to ward off the virus, or even cure it. Schumer, today, made the case and publicly called on the FTC to announce a no-nonsense campaign against these dangerous, possibly deadly sales claims.
“Make no mistake: the FTC’s warnings have sounded the alarm here and served as a necessary action, but the old adage of “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,” applies more than ever in this case. Warnings might not be enough. It is time to hit the scammers in the same place they are hitting the American consumer: deep in the pocket,” Schumer added.