FILE - This Aug. 2, 2018, file photo shows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration building behind FDA logos at a bus stop on the agency’s campus in Silver Spring, Md. U.S. regulators warned several companies to stop selling soaps, sprays and other concoctions with false claims that they can treat the new coronavirus or keep people from catching it. The warnings were emailed Friday, March 6, 2020, to companies based in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. and were announced Monday. Nearly all the targeted companies had complied by Monday morning, with mentions of the virus or products to treat it taken off their websites. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File)

Canadian company among seven warned by FDA over false coronavirus claims

Owner of Vivify said in an email that the company ‘simply sells herbs with no claims on them’

An Ontario-based holistic clinic is among seven North American companies warned by U.S. regulators to stop selling products with false claims that they can treat the new coronavirus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission announced Monday it issued the warnings letters, saying these “are the first to be issued by the FDA for unapproved products intended to prevent or treat” COVID-19.

Vivify Holistic Clinic, based in Sarnia, Ont., was the sole Canadian company among the seven recipients.

“The FDA has determined that your website offers products for sale in the United States and that these products are intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose COVID-19 in people,” reads the letter dated March 6.

The letter outlines several claims the company made on its website and Facebook page about such products.

In one Facebook post, the FDA says Vivify wrote the company was “working very hard” to create a website to sell someone’s allegedly successful coronavirus protocol.

It cites another Facebook post about a tea that the company said they “have used this with other corona virus infections, including SARS, it works well.”

Vivify says its page had appropriate disclaimers and that the post about the tea was made by a third party.

The FDA letter instructs Vivify to “take immediate action to correct the violations” it cites within 48 hours and warns failure to do so could result in legal action, including seizure and injunction.

The FDA stresses that “there currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure” the coronavirus.

“Thus, the claims cited above are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence,” the letter reads.

Vivify’s Facebook page and websites no longer appear to show the claims contained in the letter. The URL for the website that the letter says included the words coronavirus defence appears to have been changed to make no mention of the coronavirus.

A cached version of the coronavirus defence webpage shows it once referred to “CV defense.”

David Raes, the owner of Vivify, said in an email late Monday that the company “simply sells herbs with no claims on them.”

The regulators also sent letters to Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., N-Energetics, GuruNanda LLC, Herbal Amy LLC and The Jim Bakker Show.

The seven companies’ products ranged from inexpensive items to pricey ones, such as Herbal Amy’s $155 Corona Protocol — four bottles of tinctures and tea.

In an email, proprietor Amy Weidner said Herbal Amy isn’t selling treatments, just herbs.

“Within the herbal product description I simply quoted an herbalist. That quote has been removed to adhere to the FDA requirements,” Weidner wrote. The product was still on her site Monday.

READ MORE: B.C. warns of phone scam offering to sell fake COVID-19 testing

GuruNanda and N-Energetics issued statements that they had removed the claims cited by the FDA.

On Monday morning, Vital Silver’s website was offering products ranging from a fine mist spray for $7.99 to a monthly subscription for soap, gel and “structured silver minerals” for $46.90. By Monday afternoon, the website was inaccessible. Jennifer Hickman, identifying herself as the business owner, wrote in an email that she was unaware her company was violating FDA standards and had removed all statements concerning COVID-19 from the website and social media.

The FDA also said is was working with online marketplaces such as Amazon and had gotten them to remove more than three dozen fake coronavirus products.

— With files from The Associated Press

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusOntarioScams

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kelowna pauses Re-leaf Program after COVID-19 confirmed at local nursery

Tree deliveries are paused until further notice after outbreak confirmed March 31

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

COVID-19: Non-profit 3D printing face shields for local hospital

‘The response has been completely overwhelming’

Outbreak of COVID-19 at West Kelowna agricultural business; 14 cases confirmed

75 workers are in isolation — 63 migrant workers and 12 local workers

Memorial Cup concert with Brett Kissel canceled amid COVID-19 concerns

Brett Kissel was scheduled to perform at Live on Lake in Kelowna on May 30

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Community drums up support for North Okanagan hospital workers

Even health care workers and fellow first responders turned out to show love

South Okanagan first responders salute hospital workers

“You’re awesome” and “Thank you” say Penticton first responders, passing by emergency entrance

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

B.C.’s first community COVID-19 death was dentist ‘dedicated’ to health: lawyer

Vincent was 64 when he died on March 22 after attending the Pacific Dental Conference

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

‘April Fools’ social media prank leads to criminal investigation in Osoyoos

Post claims individuals will be canvassing door to door seeking housing for seasonal workers

Stay inside vehicles on Interior ferry crossings to prevent spread of COVID-19: B.C. government

Glade, Kootenay and Arrow Lakes some of the ferry crossings in Interior

Grocery pickups and other supports available for Shuswap seniors living at home

BC 211 is another way to connect with Shuswap Better at Home program

Most Read