Supplement Seller Mercola To Comply with FDA Instructions to Stop Marketing COVID-19 Cures
Statement of CSPI President Dr. Peter G. Lurie
It is against the law to market vitamins or dietary supplements as treatments or cures for any disease, let alone COVID-19. Yet throughout the pandemic, osteopath Joseph Mercola has done exactly that on his eponymous web site.
We were very glad that the Food and Drug Administration responded to the concerns raised in our letter to the FDA with a warning letter to Mercola. We learned today that Mercola has begun complying with the FDA’s instructions to remove materials from his website making claims that certain supplements Mercola sells mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19.
Mercola’s announcement of the changes took the form of a disjointed blog post that variously blames CSPI, Bill Gates and other unspecified billionaires, Baylor University’s Dr. Peter Hotez, “pharma-funded legislators,” and others for his legal problems. Even in retreating from the long arm of the law, Mercola obfuscates the reason that he had to remove these materials. That reason is that his materials made unlawful claims, thereby making the supplements either unapproved new drugs or misbranded drugs.
We urge the FDA to continue to monitor Mercola’s compliance with the demands in its warning letter, and we call on the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and state Attorneys General to consider the various tools at their disposal to protect consumers from fake coronavirus cures by anyone. We also highlight the clear responsibility of Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other search and social platforms to accelerate efforts to protect users from misinformation that might adversely affect their health.
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