DSSRC Administrative Closure #28
Social media posts disseminated by the salesforce of a direct selling company that specializes in nutritional supplements and general products were identified by DSSRC as communicating claims that Company products are effective at treating Covid-19 and the symptoms associated with the virus. More specifically, four Facebook posts came to the attention of DSSRC through its routine monitoring program which included claims such as “Its time to attack viruses. To fight dangerous viruses boosts your #immunesystem now” accompanied by a picture of the product and an image of the corona virus. Other posts made express reference to the corona diet (either through images or text) and the ability of the product to “boost the immune system”. As DSSRC has publicly stated, the Center for Disease Control, the World Health Organization and the FOOD and Drug Administration have gone on record as stating that that there are no approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products currently available to treat or prevent COVID-19.
The Company took prompt action to address the claims. It removed three of the claims immediately and provided DSSRC with its request that the distributor responsible for the fourth post remove it immediately as the statement was not authorized by the Company. In responding to the DSSRC inquiry, the Company stated that it takes compliance with (1) Section 6 of DSHEA, (2) false advertising principles of the FTC act, (3) the Code of Ethics of the DSA, and (4) its own Policies and Procedures, very seriously as it relates to improper product claims. The Company added that in this time of pandemic, it feels extreme urgency in removing any improper product claims made by distributors relating to COVID-19 and/or Coronavirus, as taking advantage of the public during a worldwide health crisis through making improper health claims is especially unethical and egregious.
Moreover the Company stated that it has gone to great lengths to ensure that claims and information are compliant and made in accordance with the regulatory environment in which it operates and has created proactive presentations and tools designed to educate our distributors about best practices with respect to health-related product claims including comprehensive and ongoing distributor training, working with a third party monitoring company, sending warning letters to distributors and, when warranted, suspending and terminating distributors who exhibit recidivist behavior.
DSSRC noted the Company’s expedited efforts to remove the Facebook posts and the internal compliance measures taken by the Company to prevent and address any authorized messages being communicated by its salesforce. Based upon actions taken by the Company to remove the posts, DSSRC administratively closed the inquiry and reserved its right to make ongoing compliance inquiries regarding this matter.
(closed on 5/20/2020)