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.”

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Photo of Amanda Beane Amanda Beane

Amanda Beane serves as co-chair of the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions practice.

Photo of Jason Howell Jason Howell

Jason Howell serves as co-chair of the Advertising, Marketing & Promotions practice and as a member of the Trademark, Copyright & Media practice.

Photo of Jared Bryant Jared Bryant

Jared Bryant has experience helping brands, from startups to top Fortune 500 companies, to navigate complex state, federal, and local laws governing various marketing, advertising, promotions, consumer protection, copyright, trademark, and right-of-publicity legal issues.

Photo of Tommy Tobin Tommy Tobin

Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and cannabis. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false…

Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and cannabis. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false advertising claims and consumer protection claims for well-known international corporations.