The Federal Trade Commission sued Golden Sunrise Neutraceutical (and some of its officers), alleging that the company is falsely advertising its "Emergency D-Virus Plan" as a treatment for COVID-19. The FTC previously sent a warning letter to the company in April, telling the company to stop making these claims, but the company did not comply.
Andrew Smith, the Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection, said, “We warned the defendants not to falsely market their product as an effective treatment for COVID-19, but they didn’t stop. As this case makes clear, the FTC is prepared to sue companies that continue to make deceptive health claims about COVID-19 or other serious diseases.”
The FTC charged the defendants with making false COVID-19 treatment claims on billboards, websites, and social media. The FTC alleged that the company falsely promoted its supplements as being “uniquely qualified to treat and modify the course of the Coronavirus epidemic in CHINA and other countries” and that users of the supplements can expect the “disappearance of viral symptoms within two to four days.”
In announcing the lawsuit, the FTC said that the company's treatments -- which can cost as much as $200,000 -- are "comprised mainly of various herbs and spices."
What are some important take-aways here? Even after about five months, the FTC is still aggressively prosecuting advertisers for making false claims related to the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. And, when you do get a warning letter from the FTC -- about COVID-19 or anything else -- it's wise to take it seriously, or you may be seeing the FTC in court.
"We warned the defendants not to falsely market their product as an effective treatment for COVID-19, but they didn’t stop" -- Andrew Smith, Director, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection