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

Abbotsford Fire Rescue Service moves to E-Comm

AFRS becomes the 16th fire department in the Lower Mainland to join system

Body of Maple Ridge man recovered near Harrison Lake

21-year-old last seen on May 16 when he fell into Silver Creek

Missing since 2016, Marie Stuart’s remains found in Abbotsford

Pregnant Abbotsford woman was last seen in December 2016

Fraser Valley Bandits sign Washington State University product

CEBL club signs defensive specialist Marcus Capers for 2020 season

Bateman’s Martens signs with Windsor Lancers

Timberwolves quarterback, defensive back joining Ontario university team

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

Nanaimo senior clocked going 50 km/hr over limit says her SUV shouldn’t be impounded

RCMP say they can’t exercise discretion when it comes to excessive speeding tickets

United Way allocating $6.6M in federal funding to help with food security, youth mental health

Applications from Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland charities being accepted for the emergency funding

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Soggy dog plucked from Vedder River by Chilliwack Search and Rescue

A 10 month old puppy bit off far more than she could chew throwing herself into the rushing river

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Most Read