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CEO DATELINE – Dietary supplement industry groups warn against fake coronavirus cures

Feb. 12, 2020
By Walt Williams

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Dietary supplements cannot prevent or treat the coronavirus that has spread worldwide, and marketers are not permitted to claim otherwise, four industry trade groups said Tuesday.

In a joint statement, the American Herbal Products Association, Consumer Health Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition and United Natural Products Alliance warned against claims that supplements can treat the Novel Coronavirus, which had reportedly killed more than 1,100 people as of Wednesday. They noted that while supplements can improve human health, there is no evidence they are effective against the virus.

“Even if research is conducted and published on the topic, the law that regulates dietary supplements, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, prohibits marketers of dietary supplements in the United States from promoting any dietary supplement product that makes disease prevention or treatment claims,” the groups said.

Fake claims about cures have proliferated along with public fears about the coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states on its website that there are no vaccines for the disease and the best way to prevent infection is to prevent exposure to the virus.

In addition to the warning from the four groups, the Natural Products Association issued a statement on Jan. 27 urging the Food and Drug Administration to take action against nutritional supplements claiming to treat or prevent infection by the coronavirus.

“If a product sounds too good to be true, then it probably is,” NPA CEO Daniel Fabricant said. “There is no such thing as a magic pill and consumers should steer clear of any product being marketed as a nutritional supplement that says it will prevent, treat, or cure coronavirus or any other illness.”