US FDA warns CBD firms over fraudulent and ‘life-threatening’ Covid claims

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued warning letters to seven CBD companies for claiming that some of the products they sell may be used to prevent or cure Covid-19.

The letters, sent by FDA along with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last week, warn companies selling CBD about what the agencies allege are fraudulent health claims. The companies were given 48 hours to address the violations and report back to the agency or explain why they were not able to do so.

“We request that you take immediate action to cease the sale of any unapproved and unauthorised products for the mitigation, prevention, treatment, diagnosis, or cure of COVID-19,” the letters state.

The FDA also advised the companies to review their websites, labels and promotional materials to make sure they were not misrepresenting their products as safe and effective against Covid, a use for which they have no approval from the agency.

Companies that fail to comply with the order could face legal action including seizure of goods and injunctions to prevent their future sale.


‘Serious and life-threatening harm’


“The FDA has not approved or authorised any drug containing CBD for the treatment or prevention of Covid-19,” the agency said. “The agency is concerned these deceptive and misleading product claims could cause people to delay or stop appropriate medical treatment for Covid-19, leading to serious and life-threatening harm.”

The companies cited by the FDA as having received warnings were Cureganics, Heaven’s Organics, Functional Remedies, Greenway Herbal Products, CBD Social, UPSY LLC and Nature’s Highway.

Letters to the companies included references to claims over the efficacy of CBD products against Covid which the brands published on their websites or social media accounts.

This is not the first time the FDA has taken action against CBD brands selling products with misleading claims related to the coronavirus.

A study published by the Journal of Cannabis Research analysed warning letters issued by the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research from March 2020 to August 2021. CBD companies were found to be the most frequent subjects of such warnings over unsubstantiated claims that their products could mitigate, prevent, cure or diagnose Covid-19.

Tiziana Cauli CBD-Intel staff

Photo: McKinsey

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