MONDAY, March 9, 2020 (HealthDay News) — U.S. officials are cracking down on companies selling fraudulent products that claim to prevent or treat the new coronavirus.

Seven companies — whose goods range from essential oils to colloidal silver — were sent warning letters from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the FDA said Monday. The warning letters were sent to: Vital Silver; Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd.; Xephyr LLC (doing business as N-Ergetics); GuruNanda LLC; Vivify Holistic Clinic; Herbal Amy LLC; and The Jim Bakker Show. Besides essential oils and colloidal silver, the products in question include teas and tinctures. These unapproved drugs pose significant health risks and violate federal law, the FDA noted. Colloidal silver is not safe or effective for treating any condition, the FDA has said in the past.

“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a threat to the public health,” FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, M.D., said in an agency news release. “We have an aggressive surveillance program that routinely monitors online sources for health fraud products, especially during a significant public health issue such as this one.”

The companies that received the warning letters have 48 hours to outline steps taken to correct the violations. Companies selling products that falsely claim to prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19 may face legal action, including seizure or injunction. The FDA and FTC also said they will continue to monitor social media, online marketplaces, and complaints to help ensure that the companies do not continue to sell bogus products under a different company name or on another website. The FDA has created a cross-agency task force to closely monitor for fraudulent products related to COVID-19.

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