Around the world, there is panic due to coronavirus pandemic and some people are taking advantage of this panic and selling fraudulent therapies for treatment of coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in a step to curb these practices, has issued warning letters to 12 companies who are selling products with the claim to treat coronavirus with said products.
FDA is actively and aggressively monitoring for any firms marketing products with fraudulent #COVID19 diagnostic, prevention and treatment claims as part of our ongoing efforts to protect public health during this pandemic. https://t.co/ULtXVTwc7h
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) March 31, 2020
The products that were flagged included silver products, essential oils, nasal sprays, teas and tinctures. These products are being marketed as treatments and preventative therapies. FDA has listed these products on its website.
These products have no scientific basis to cure coronavirus. The only product that has previously shown any effect on microbial activity is colloidal silver. It has previously been seen to kill bacteriophage ϕX174, murine norovirus (MNV), and adenovirus serotype 2 (AdV2) under specific conditions. It has also been effective in deactivating HIV and prevented it from attaching to host cells. However, it has a lot of adverse effects, like turning skin blue and causing poor absorption of the drugs in your body. It has not been proven to kill coronavirus or any other microbe in humans. Staying away from such products for the time being is the best bet.
This #AprilFools and every other day, make sure you’re not being fooled by health fraud during the #COVID19 pandemic. We are actively monitoring for any firm marketing products with fraudulent COVID-19 prevention and treatment claims. https://t.co/EQGJN0K0wE pic.twitter.com/nN292borzD
— U.S. FDA (@US_FDA) April 1, 2020
Last month, FDA also issued warning to 7 other companies for selling deceptive products. These products are not only unsafe and ineffective, they can also delay proper diagnosis and treatment in many cases. Sometimes such products can also prove to be fatal and cause serious injuries.
Working rapidly across government, academia, & the private sector, FDA has launched the #Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP). CTAP uses every tool at our disposal to bring new therapies to gravely ill #COVID19 patients as quickly as possible. https://t.co/ghTg8osjLA pic.twitter.com/fkPEKSQZmE
— Dr. Stephen M. Hahn (@SteveFDA) March 31, 2020
FDA has also issued notices and seized multiple unauthorized fake in-home coronavirus tests. FDA has not approved any in-home tests for the disease.
As per the estimates of the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA), health care fraud costs the United States around USD68 billion annually. Right now, do not waste money, but work on a healthier you. The stronger your immune system, the more likely you are to fight off coronavirus infection.
— Richard Danielson (@Danielson_Times) March 31, 2020
There are certain steps that you can take to improve your immunity, including exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding drinking alcohol, avoiding smoking, getting adequate sleep, washing you hands regularly, eating a healthy diet rich in fiber, fruits, vegetable and protein. You can also use vitamins and mineral supplements.
What if You Get COVID-19
There are some things you should always consider before buying a product. First of all, there is no coronavirus treatment available as of yet. If you get the COVID-19, you will be treated with basic medications for mild infections like paracetamol or tylenol.
If your symptoms become severe, you will be given oxygen and some antiviral drugs that are experimental at this stage. Sometimes a physician may provide you with some anti-malarial drugs, but that too is experimental right now. If a patient becomes critical, he is provided with a ventilator and symptomatic drug therapy.
Any product that you buy off the internet right now can cause adverse reactions, if you get the coronavirus. Whatever product or medication that you take can cause unfavorable reactions in the body. Drug therapies that are approved for treatment undergo scientific research to rule out such reactions. These drug therapies also need to get approved by FDA before they are available in the market.
Good News on the Horizon
There is some good news on the horizon. The state of New York has commissioned a study to check the effects of drugs hydroxychloroquine, zithromax, and chloroquine on coronavirus patients. FDA has also given approval for the medications to be studied. The trial started late last month and will hopefully present results soon. These drugs are being tested to see their effectiveness in treating coronavirus patients, after researchers from China successfully reported their use as experimental drugs.
On Tuesday New York is beginning FDA-approved drug trials for very sick #Coronavirus patients.
The FDA also approved @HealthNYGov to proceed with a trial of an experimental antibody therapy on a compassionate care basis.
We are fighting this virus in every way.
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 23, 2020
Trump: Clinical trials for existing drugs Chloroquine and Hydroxychloroquine to begin in New York tomorrow to see if they are effective in treating Coronavirus patients.
— Benny (@bennyjohnson) March 23, 2020
How to Spot and Check Fraudulent Health Products
This latest warning by FDA does not mean that you cannot use herbal products at all. Just use the products that are either approved in the form of FDA approved supplements or are especially designed for some illness you might have. To spot a product that is fraudulent, follow these steps:
- Look out for items that claim to solve all your problems with a single product
- Avoid products that offer testimonials as proof, offer quick fixes, use the words like ‘natural’, ‘time-tested’ or ‘newfound treatment’ as selling gimmick, promise quick recoveries, uses made up medical jargon and are full of paranoid accusations towards big pharma
- Check with your doctor or physician before you take any product, especially if you have COVID-19
- Check appropriate professional health groups and agencies’ websites like WHO, CDC or FDA. You can also find which office of FDA is closest to where you live and approach them to check for validity of a product
Many of us expect to be spending more time at #home which means we may have more time to answer the phone, but if the person calling is offering something too good to be true treatment or even a cure to the #Coronavirus, consumer experts say hang up. https://t.co/xFybBRXRqD
— Stop Fraud Colorado (@StopFraudCo) March 28, 2020