Essential oils and supplements to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19? If it smells fishy to you, the FTC agrees. According to the FTC, three high-level distributors for Utah-based multi-level marketing company doTERRA International, LLC, broke the law because they didn’t have scientific proof to back up their health benefit claims.
The complaints filed by the Department of Justice on the FTC’s behalf say each defendant — a pediatrician, a nurse practitioner, and a former registered nurse — claimed during a series of webinars that doTERRA’s products could prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19. The FTC says they touted their medical expertise in promoting doTERRA’s products.
To settle the lawsuits, each defendant has agreed to pay a $15,000 penalty. The three defendants also agreed to stop making claims that aren’t approved by the FDA about preventing/treating/curing COVID-19. And the defendants will have to have scientific proof for any health claim they make.
When it comes to spotting unsupported claims about the prevention, treatment, or cure of COVID-19:
- Stay informed. Visit the FDA’s website to learn about treatments for COVID-19. When there’s a medical breakthrough, you’re not going to hear about first through an ad or sales pitch.
- Ask your doctor. If you’re curious about a product that claims to treat any disease, talk to your doctor or health care provider about it.
- Know that unproven products and treatments might be dangerous. Taking unproven products might mean that you stop or delay taking proven medical treatments ordered by your health-care provider. Unproven products might also cause bad interactions with your medications or with other products you might take.
Read Common Health Scams to learn more.