The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Federal Trade Commission say several companies are making false and misleading claims about various products that claim to cure or treat coronavirus.
On Monday, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn sent warning letters to seven companies, threatening legal action if the recipients continue to market or sell their supposed coronavirus treatments.
"The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health," Dr. Hahn said in an FDA statement. "These warning letters are just the first step. We’re prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam."
The companies named in the letters are accused of selling herbs, liquid supplements, teas, and other substances, each with the claim that it can prevent, treat, or cure coronavirus-related illness.
"There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19," the FDA said, referring to the current strain of coronavirus that originated in China late last year. "Although there are investigational COVID-19 vaccines and treatments under development, these investigational products are in the early stages of product development and have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness."
Recipients of the FDA warning include televangelist Jim Bakker. The letter specifically calls out Bakker's TV show for selling a product called "Silver Solution," and claiming it can stop coronavirus. A guest on a recent episode of The Jim Bakker Show told the audience that Silver Solution "...hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it's been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours."
The FDA and FTC told Bakker he's selling what the government calls "unapproved new drugs" in violation of federal law.
NBC Bay Area reached out to Bakker's television production company, as well as the doctor who appeared on the show, but we did not receive a response.
If you see a product you feel is being inappropriately advertised, you can report it to the FDA at the agency's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.