Alleged COVID-19 Treatment Claims Land Doc in Hot Water – Lexology

CSPI and friends send letters to FTC, FDA about dangerous ‘coronadvice’


You have to hand it to Joseph Mercola. He went all in.

If the folks at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are right, Dr. Mercola went hog-wild, recommending a smorgasbord of products and therapies claiming to help treat COVID-19 through his website. Check out his news archive, where you can get a sense of the range of therapies he was pushing, from beets to sweet wormwood to antacids and vitamin C.

According to the CSPI, he even advised consumers in a podcast episode and an online article “that intentionally contracting the virus after consuming purportedly immunity-boosting supplements would confer greater protection against COVID-19 than a vaccine would.”

Off the Leash

Before we continue, let us just repeat what shouldn’t need repeating: There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat or prevent COVID-19, and anyone who is claiming otherwise is asking for trouble from the powers that be.

Mercola’s array of dubious recommendations caught the attention of three watchdog groups – the CSPI, the People’s Parity Project and Justice Catalyst Law – that took the time to catalog Mercola’s alleged abuses.

The groups identify more than 20 “vitamins, supplements and other products” that he pushed as COVID-19 therapies, and took the time to assemble this handy chart.

You don’t want to be the subject of a chart drawn up by the CSPI.

The Takeaway

The watchdog groups penned letters to the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) calling out the doctor. The CSPI’s policy director, Laura MacCleery, even appeared before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation to address false claims, using the doctor’s marketing efforts as an example.

Is there a takeaway here? Would anyone who is still offering COVID-19 therapies or cures without FDA approval even understand our advice at this point? Because our advice is simple: Stop offering COVID-19 treatment claims of any sort. Now.

On second thought, let us add this slightly less obvious addendum: If you are recommending products that are even glancingly related to COVID-19 symptoms, please carefully review your marketing and make it crystal clear that you’re not advancing a cure or a treatment that does not yet exist. If you run a platform that sells products and offers advice on their use, start double- and triple-reviewing. Don’t fall afoul of the authorities by seeming to push a product under the guise of medical advice.

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