FTC Slams SoCal Sellers For COVID-19 Marketing

Nicole Charky

MANHATTAN BEACH, CA —The Federal Trade Commission announced Thursday it sent 45 U.S. companies letters warning them to stop making unsubstantiated claims that their products and therapies can treat or prevent COVID-19. The FTC sent three of those warnings to South Bay companies and two to Orange County companies.

The FTC identified South Bay and Orange County companies receiving letters as:

  • Holtorf Medical Group, El Segundo
  • Natural Herbal Life Inc., Manhattan Beach
  • Pacific Acupuncture, Manhattan Beach
  • Golden Road Kratom, Huntington Beach
  • Proactive Health, Tustin

The letters stem from the FTC's ongoing efforts to protect consumers from coronavirus-related scams. Several of the most recent batch of letters target "treatments," including Chinese herbal medications, music therapy, homeopathic treatments and shields claimed to boost the immune system by protecting the wearer from electromagnetic fields, according to the FTC.

The FTC sent a previous round of letters to sellers of vitamins, herbs, colloidal silver, teas, essential oils and other products pitched as scientifically proven coronavirus treatments or preventatives, according to the FTC.

In all, letters have been sent to nearly 100 companies and individuals, according to the commission.

The FTC states in the letters that one or more of the efficacy claims made by the marketers are unsubstantiated because they are not supported by scientific evidence, and therefore violate the FTC Act.

The letters advise the recipients to immediately stop making all claims that their products can treat or cure COVID-19, and notify the commission within 48 hours about the specific actions they took to address the agency's concerns. The letters also note that if the false claims do not stop, the commission may seek a federal court injunction and an order requiring money to be refunded to consumers.

Patch reached out to Natural Herbal Life Inc. and Pacific Acupuncture in Manhattan Beach for comment.

Cindy Hardy, Customer Services Manager at Natural Herbal Life Inc., told Patch that none of their products deal with viruses and they are an herbal supplement product company, adding "we have since corrected what FTC viewed as an issue with our domain name. The issue was not with our product, but our domain name that contained the word 'remedy.' The domain was immediately deleted."

"To answer your questions, none of our product was marketed nor sold as a COVID 19 PRODUCT," Hardy told Patch. "The only issue we had was with a domain name. Feel free to browse our website and see for yourself."

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- City News Service contributed to this report.

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This article originally appeared on the Manhattan Beach Patch