April 23, 2020 / 4:24 PM / a month ago

U.S. regulator warns firms touting unproven coronavirus treatments, cures

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Trade Commission has sent a third batch of letters warning a group of companies that they are “unlawfully advertising” by promoting unproven new coronavirus treatments and cures such as elderberry and acupuncture.

The agency, which investigates inaccurate marketing, sent the 21 letters to companies that have advertised high-dose vitamin C treatments, herbal therapies, elderberry, IV and ozone therapy, acupuncture and stem cell therapy to treat or cure the new coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 respiratory illness.

Companies are not allowed to offer treatments unless there is proof that the medicines or procedures work.

COVID-19 has killed more than 47,000 people in the United States. There is no vaccine.

The FTC has received 23,581 complaints related to COVID-19, of which 12,731 were for fraud. Total fraud loss was $17.97 million, the agency said on its website. (Reporting by Diane Bartz Editing by Paul Simao)

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