Earlier this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned several sellers of dietary supplements over claims made by them that their products helped fight the flu. Last Thursday, the FDA posted the letters on its website to make consumers aware that a variety of herbal products sold on the premise of reducing the severity of flu has no scientific basis. These are not flu medicines, though they may have other properties.
In the warning letter sent to the University of Berkeley, addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org, the FDA warned, “This is to advise you that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed your website at the Internet address http://www.berkley-u.edu/flu-prevention on January 11, 2013. The FDA has determined that your website offers products for sale that are intended to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure the Flu Virus in people. These products have not been approved, cleared, or otherwise authorized by FDA for use in the diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, treatment, or cure of the Flu Virus. This product is Berkley-Body-Immune Flu Prevention. The marketing of this product violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDC Act). 21 U.S.C. §§ §§ 331, 351, 352. We request that you immediately cease marketing unapproved, uncleared, or unauthorized products for the diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, treatment, or cure of the Flu Virus.”
Citing objectionable phrases on the website, the FDA warned, “The marketing and sale of unapproved or uncleared Flu Virus -related products is a potentially significant threat to the public health. Therefore, FDA is taking urgent measures to protect consumers from products that, without approval or authorization by FDA, claim to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure Flu Virus in people.”
The warning covers misleading claims by several sellers about the properties of Resveratrol, Garlic, Echinacea, Elderberry, Ashwagandha and Astragalus Immune System Support.
This year, people have been experiencing a severe flu season and demand for flu remedies has gone up. In many cases, according to the FDA, businesses were selling fake versions of the prescription antiviral drug Tamiflu.
Companies which have received such warning letters include Discount Online Pharmacy, Medsnoscript, Kosher Vitamin Express, Secure Medical Inc, Oasis Consumer Healthcare LLC, Sun Drug Store, Vitalmax Vitamins, and the University of Berkley.