Coronavirus (COVID-19)

As part of its routine monitoring program, the National Advertising Division (NAD) recently announced several decisions involving social media posts that advertised products as having health benefits that could help protect against COVID-19. The NAD’s inquiries are consistent with similar efforts by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intended to combat false and misleading advertising in connection with the pandemic. In its decisions, the NAD noted that it shares the FTC and FDA concerns related to advertising that touts a product can treat or protect consumers from COVID-19 and is therefore using its monitoring resources to identify misleading health claims.
Continue Reading NAD Uses Monitoring to Discourage Misleading COVID-19 Health Claims

Last week, the FTC sent another 50 warning letters related to COVID-19 advertising claims, adding to the growing list of FTC warnings and actions intended to address false and deceptive marketing during the pandemic. The latest round of letters targets companies advertising their products and services as effective in preventing or treating COVID-19 without adequate scientific support, including acupuncture, intravenous (IV) therapies, ozone therapy, stem cell treatments, sound frequencies, air-purifiers, and immune-defense supplements.
Continue Reading FTC’s COVID-19 Response: Latest Developments

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.
Continue Reading More FTC Civil Enforcement for COVID-19 and CBD Cancer Treatment Claims

Consumers’ response to COVID-19 has led to increased demand for personal protective equipment and other much-needed supplies to aid consumers and healthcare professionals in the fight against the disease. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is one such product, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending hand sanitizers when soap and water are not available. The FDA has issued recent guidance intended to provide “flexibility” for manufacturers and increase the supply of alcohol-based hand sanitizer in the marketplace.
Continue Reading Industry Insights: Consumer Products Companies Reconfiguring Production Lines to Meet New COVID-19 Needs

The FTC recently sent another round of warning letters to ten sellers related to advertising claims that their products treat or prevent COVID-19. Consistent with prior warning letters jointly issued by the FDA and FTC, the FTC’s letters allege that the sellers are falsely claiming that the products are proven to prevent or treat coronavirus when, in fact, there is no competent and reliable scientific evidence that is currently known to exist for products that prevent or treat COVID-19.
Continue Reading FTC Sends More Warning Letters Regarding Unsupported Coronavirus Prevention and Treatment Claims

Two brothers in Tennessee made national news in early March after cleaning out local stores of products in high demand because of COVID-19 in order to sell them for exorbitant prices on online marketplaces.  In the end, however, both Amazon and eBay implemented policies resulting in some or all listings involving price gouging being pulled from their platforms, so the pair was left with a garage full of nearly 18,000 bottles of sanitizer and an investigation into their activities by the Tennessee Attorney General’s.
Continue Reading Private Companies and Government Regulators Crack Down on Coronavirus-related Price Gouging

On March 26th Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman, Joe Simons, issued a statement regarding the FTC’s continuing efforts to protect consumers during the coronavirus pandemic. The statement came the day before nearly three dozen bipartisan senators signed a letter asking the FTC to clarify what efforts were being taken to prevent COVID-19-related fraud targeting consumers, particularly the elderly.
Continue Reading FTC Statement On Coronavirus Enforcement

The FDA and FTC recently issued joint warning letters to seven sellers of products that claimed to treat or prevent “Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019,” known as COVID-19.

According to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, “The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health.”  FTC Chairman Joe

Leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives have requested that the FTC take action against price gouging related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and have indicated that they would assist with appropriate legislation.

Almost every state has issued emergency declarations which, in many states, trigger prohibitions against price gouging.

As the coronavirus pandemic evolves, retailers should