FTC and NYAG attack dubious Zika-related promotions

Posted 10 August 2016

The FTC staff has sent warning letters to ten online marketers selling products that purportedly provide protection from the Zika virus. [FTC sends warning letters to online sellers making Zika virus-protection claims. FTC News release, Aug 5, 2016]

The letters warn the recipients that Zika protection claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of well-controlled human clinical testing. The products of concern include wristbands, patches, and stickers that purportedly can repel the mosquitoes that carry Zika or otherwise protect users from the virus. The letters also point out that the testing supporting claims of protection from the Zika virus must use the mosquito species that are able to carry the virus—and must be able to demonstrate that the repellent effects last as long as advertised. On August 3, New York’s Attorney General issued cease-and-desist letters to seven companies that market products with false claims that the products prevent or protect against Zika virus. The products included wrist bands, bracelets, patches and stickers impregnated with ingredients such as oil of geranium, cedar, lemon grass, soy, and citronella.

A.G. Schneiderman issues cease and desist letters demanding companies Stop falsely advertising ineffective products as “Zika-preventive.” NYAG press release, Aug 3, 2016

On August 4th, the AG’s office reported that six of the recipients agreed to stop marketing the items.

Source: Consumer Health Digest #16-30, August 7, 2016

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