WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday that it had sent letters to 10 companies for improperly advertising products or services to treat or prevent the new coronavirus, including one that claimed actor Christian Slater among its customers.
The FTC, which enforces rules against inaccurate or unsubstantiated advertising, wrote letters to Bioenergy Wellness Miami, Face Vital LLC, LightAir International AB, MedQuick Labs LLC, New Performance Nutrition, PuraTHRIVE LLC, Resurgence Medical Spa LLC, Rocky Mountain IV Medics, Suki Distribution Pte. Ltd, and Vita Activate.
The letters typically note advertising on a company’s website that either say a product or service will ward off the new coronavirus or help cure the disease if it develops.
The FTC said on Tuesday it had received 17,425 complaints related to COVID-19, of which 9,634 were for COVID-related fraud. Total fraud loss was $13.13 million, the agency said on its website.
Los Angeles-based New Performance Nutrition’s website said it counted among its customers a host of athletes as well as actor Christian Slater and singer Christina Aguilera.
New Performance and most of the other companies did not respond to a request for comment.
Rocky Mountain IV Medics said that it had offered only to help relieve COVID-19 symptoms and avoid hospital treatment. “(We) are still attempting to discuss matters with the FTC in regards to this matter,” said company owner Ryan Richardson in an email statement.
At Bioenergy Wellness, a woman who declined to give her name said she had received the letter and made the changes to her website that the FTC requested.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)