On April 28, 2020, the FTC announced a preliminary order in a civil enforcement action against a supplement manufacturer that allegedly made false and unsubstantiated claims regarding COVID-19 and cancer. Specifically, the FTC alleged that Whole Leaf Organics had marketed its “Thrive” product as an “anti viral wellness booster” that treated, prevented, or reduced the risk of COVID-19. The FTC also alleged that Whole Leaf Organics marketed three products containing cannabidiol (CBD) as effective cancer treatments.
The FDA had already issued a warning letter in November 2019 to Whole Leaf Organics for making unapproved drug claims about its CBD-infused products. But according to the FTC, the problematic claims remained on the company’s website months later.
In a statement announcing the preliminary order in which the company agreed to cease making COVID-19 and cancer-related claims, the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith noted: “There’s no proof that any product will prevent or treat COVID-19 or that any CBD product will treat cancer. Let’s be clear: companies making these claims can look forward to an FTC lawsuit like this one.”