Washington, D.C.—The Natural Products Association urged the FDA to take action against nutritional supplements claiming to treat or prevent infection by the coronavirus, according to a press release.

President and CEO of NPA Daniel Fabricant, Ph.D., wrote in the letter: "As you are aware, the Wuhan Coronavirus is a substantial emerging health issue, any such issue creates fear, and unfortunately unreputable actors look to capitalize on that fear, including those that will market anything to make money with little regard for the harm that their actions will cause. These scams put consumers at risk when they claim that their products will treat or prevent illnesses, like the newly identified Coronavirus. Individuals that choose these fraudulent products rather than seeking therapy or treatment from a reputable health care provider are putting their health at risk."The full letter can be read here.
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“If a product sounds too good to be true, then it probably is,” said Dr. Fabricant in the press release. “There is no such thing as a magic pill, and consumers should steer clear of any product being marketed as a nutritional supplement that says it will prevent, treat, or cure coronavirus or any other illness. While these products may appeal to people who are concerned about getting sick, there is no substitute for doing what is recommended every flu season: wash your hands often; avoid people who are sick; cover your mouth and nose when you cough; and if you’re the one feeling sick, stay home.”

The Centers for Disease Control makes these additional recommendations to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses: avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; cover a cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash; and clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

Consumers who are concerned about a statement made on a product label can report it to theFDA. Claims that sound false or unbelievable, or claims that a product can treat or cure a disease, can be reported to theFTC.