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

What would you like to ask Hope’s Mayor on COVID-19?

Send us your questions, ahead of a conversation with Peter Robb

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

‘It’s frightening’: Hemlock Valley trucker on being on the road during COVID-19

Armed with a keychain-sized hand sanitizer, trucker Brennan Bateman set out for the United States

SD78, meet your new superintendent

Balan Moorthy takes over from Karen Nelson August 1

Here’s how to talk to people who aren’t taking physical distancing seriously

Approach the conversation with empathy says conflict expert

Fraser Valley auto sound business starts producing face shields

Certified Auto Sound & Security is doing what it can to help frontline healthcare workers.

B.C. clears more acute hospital beds as COVID-19 case growth slows

Province holding about 40% of beds empty for peak still to come

As 500K+ apply for emergency benefit, Trudeau says aid coming for Canadians left behind

Canada Emergency Response Benefit provides $2,000 per month

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Travellers, travel agents ‘in agony’ over refund policies and customer service

Many Canadian carriers are offering customers flights rebookings or travel vouchers — but not refunds

Introverted and extroverted kids likely to react differently to COVID-19 restrictions

B.C. child psychologist says your parenting approach can’t be one-size fits all in social isolation

B.C. begins taking submissions for $2M COVID-19 research fund

Rural health, impact of shifting hospital resources among priorities

Most Read