The Federal Trade Commission sued Whole Leaf Organics, a dietary supplement maker, alleging that the company falsely promoted its products as a cure for COVID-19 and cancer. Pending the resolution of the case, Whole Leaf Organics agreed to a preliminary injunction.
The FTC alleged that Whole Leaf Organics falsely promoted its Thrive product as an "anti viral wellness booster" that is clinically proven to be able to treat, prevent, and reduce the risk of COVID-19. The FTC alleged that the company made unsubstantiated claims such as, "Formulated with potent antiviral herbal extracts, Thrive by Whole Leaf Organics is the perfect way to strengthen your immunity against pathogens like 'COVID-19,' the coronavirus." The FTC also alleged that Whole Leaf Organics promoted the product as "Formulated with clinically tested and proven ingredients."
In addition, the FTC alleged that Whole Leaf Organics falsely promoted various products containing CBD and hemp extract as being scientifically proven to treat cancer. For example, the company promoted its CBD-EX product as one that, "combines the best in cancer fighting elements, into one simple capsule."
In a statement, Andrew Smith, the Director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “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.”
While this case is another good example of the FTC aggressively going after fraudulent COVID-19 treatment products, it's worth noting how quickly the FTC acted here. By getting the preliminary injunction, the FTC is showing that it's not going to sit around and let the company continue to make its health claims while a settlement is (potentially being) negotiated. As Lesley Fair wrote on the FTC's blog, " Even at this early stage, the filing of this case demonstrates the FTC’s unwavering commitment to protecting Americans from products falsely advertised to prevent or treat serious diseases."
"Let’s be clear: companies making these claims can look forward to an FTC lawsuit like this one" -- Andrew Smith, Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection