FILE - This Aug. 2, 2018, file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency’s campus in Silver Spring, Md. U.S. regulators warned several companies to stop selling soaps, sprays and other concoctions with false claims that they can treat the new coronavirus or keep people from catching it. The warnings were emailed Friday, March 6, 2020, to companies based in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and were announced Monday. Nearly all the targeted companies had complied by Monday morning, with mentions of the virus or products to treat it taken off their websites. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Canadian company among seven warned by FDA over false coronavirus claims

Owner of Vivify said in an email that the company ‘simply sells herbs with no claims on them’

An Ontario-based holistic clinic is among seven North American companies warned by U.S. regulators to stop selling products with false claims that they can treat the new coronavirus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission announced Monday it issued the warnings letters, saying these “are the first to be issued by the FDA for unapproved products intended to prevent or treat” COVID-19.

Vivify Holistic Clinic, based in Sarnia, Ont., was the sole Canadian company among the seven recipients.

“The FDA has determined that your website offers products for sale in the United States and that these products are intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose COVID-19 in people,” reads the letter dated March 6.

The letter outlines several claims the company made on its website and Facebook page about such products.

In one Facebook post, the FDA says Vivify wrote the company was “working very hard” to create a website to sell someone’s allegedly successful coronavirus protocol.

It cites another Facebook post about a tea that the company said they “have used this with other corona virus infections, including SARS, it works well.”

Vivify says its page had appropriate disclaimers and that the post about the tea was made by a third party.

The FDA letter instructs Vivify to “take immediate action to correct the violations” it cites within 48 hours and warns failure to do so could result in legal action, including seizure and injunction.

The FDA stresses that “there currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure” the coronavirus.

“Thus, the claims cited above are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence,” the letter reads.

Vivify’s Facebook page and websites no longer appear to show the claims contained in the letter. The URL for the website that the letter says included the words coronavirus defence appears to have been changed to make no mention of the coronavirus.

A cached version of the coronavirus defence webpage shows it once referred to “CV defense.”

David Raes, the owner of Vivify, said in an email late Monday that the company “simply sells herbs with no claims on them.”

The regulators also sent letters to Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., N-Energetics, GuruNanda LLC, Herbal Amy LLC and The Jim Bakker Show.

The seven companies’ products ranged from inexpensive items to pricey ones, such as Herbal Amy’s $155 Corona Protocol — four bottles of tinctures and tea.

In an email, proprietor Amy Weidner said Herbal Amy isn’t selling treatments, just herbs.

“Within the herbal product description I simply quoted an herbalist. That quote has been removed to adhere to the FDA requirements,” Weidner wrote. The product was still on her site Monday.

READ MORE: B.C. warns of phone scam offering to sell fake COVID-19 testing

GuruNanda and N-Energetics issued statements that they had removed the claims cited by the FDA.

On Monday morning, Vital Silver’s website was offering products ranging from a fine mist spray for $7.99 to a monthly subscription for soap, gel and “structured silver minerals” for $46.90. By Monday afternoon, the website was inaccessible. Jennifer Hickman, identifying herself as the business owner, wrote in an email that she was unaware her company was violating FDA standards and had removed all statements concerning COVID-19 from the website and social media.

The FDA also said is was working with online marketplaces such as Amazon and had gotten them to remove more than three dozen fake coronavirus products.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusOntarioScams

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Comox Valley Farmers’ Market set for online shopping

An online store will complement the market and is set to start taking orders soon.

Comox Valley centre offering free online meditation and mindfulness teachings

The Comox Valley has a well-kept secret in the Sherab Chamma Tibetan… Continue reading

Comox Valley Food Bank set to reopen

The organization closed last week due to concerns around COVID-19

VIDEO: Courtenay residential community offers nightly balcony salute to frontline workers

Residents of The Tides in Courtenay gathered, social distancing intact, to salute… Continue reading

COVID-19: Isolation exemptions to frontline workers a danger to patients, say Island Health employees

Staff exempt from self-isolation upon return from international travel according to Island Health

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Comox Valley grocers going extra mile during coronavirus

We have had numerous requests to post a fluid article directing consumers… Continue reading

B.C. Ferries passengers staying away, as asked, during COVID-19 pandemic

Ferry corporation says ridership down 70-80 per cent over the last week and a half

Sewers stitch masks to free up supplies for front-line health-care workers

“We have little old ladies sewing up a storm,” said Joan Davis

Experts weigh in on best handling of groceries during COVID-19 pandemic

Study suggests the virus can live for up to 24 hours on cardboard and up to three days on plastic

COVID-19 world update: Enforceable quarantine in NYC?; France orders 1 billion masks

Spain warns EU’s future at stake; New York governor calls Trump’s idea ‘federal declaration of war

Duncan man asks community to donate RVs to essential workers in need of quarantine

Ryan Oakley creates a Facebook group to help coordinate the effort

Earth Hour 2020 kicks off online Saturday night

Action moves online due to COVID-19

Most Read