Coronavirus Scams: FDA Issues Warning Against Bogus COVID-19 Products

Researchers across the world have been increasing efforts to create a drug or treatment for COVID-19. But health experts and supplement makers warned that fake cures for the disease have been circulating on social media, which may put people at risk of other health problems. 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued letters to warn some companies distributing fraudulent COVID-19 treatments. Some of the products claim to block the novel coronavirus or eliminate it from the infected people by improving the immune system, WebMD reported Monday

However, experts said there is no quick or effective way to get rid of COVID-19 to date. In addition, no scientific process could strengthen the immune system to make the body more resistant to the virus, according to retired psychiatrist Stephen Barrett, who runs Quackwatch, a website that debunks pseudoscientific claims.

One reason that some people still consider trying false COVID-19 treatments is the growing fear amid the coronavirus pandemic. The victims are commonly older adults. 

"People are scared and when you're scared, your judgment may be impaired," Philip Muskin, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said. "You just want a solution, and up comes a photo of a beautiful woman or man in a beautiful setting telling you that a certain herbal or vitamin supplement can help you."

Older adults tend to buy and try the COVID-19 treatments online because they are often socially isolated. They also easily trust people and use their phones more often, which makes them vulnerable, according to William Dale, director of the Center for Cancer and Aging at City of Hope in Los Angeles.

"We want to think that there is a quick way to get rid of this," Rebecca Dutch, a virologist with the University of Kentucky in Lexington, said. "But there is not a product out there that will keep you from getting the coronavirus." 

The increasing number of products claiming to be effective COVID-19 treatments on social media and the web prompted industry groups to launch a campaign to guide the sellers and consumers in getting the right information on such items. 

The Council for Responsible Nutrition and the American Herbal Products Association said supplement stores should refuse to stock or sell any products that claim to treat, cure or prevent the coronavirus infection. They also noted it is important that consumers contact the FDA to report such products.

COVID-19 fake news Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have been panic buying, taking potentially harmful medications and questioning the efforts of the government due to the spread of fake news across social media. Pixabay