We all agree that drinking aquarium cleaner is never a good idea (Covid-19 Has Closed Stores, but Snake Oil Is Still for Sale, New York Times, 3/31/20), and if a product sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. 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.
Unlike the miracle cure in the fictitious movie “Contagion,” information about how nutritional supplements are regulated can in fact be found on a government website. Consumers who are concerned about a statement made on a product label can report it to the FDA, and if a claim sounds false or unbelievable, or claims to treat or cure a disease, consumers can tell the FTC.
There are strict laws in place to punish charlatans who try to use this crisis to take advantage of people. As the former top regulator at the FDA overseeing natural products and nutritional supplements, I put people in jail who peddled dangerous products to consumers. And as the CEO of the largest trade association for the natural products industry, I have worked with authorities in recent weeks to stop the spread of misinformation related to bogus treatments for COVID-19.
We are all in this together and we must work hard to ensure that consumers get the right information about their health during this crisis. This should include the truth about how natural products are regulated, and their important role in supporting the health of millions of Americans.
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Natural Products Association
The Natural Products Association (NPA) is the trade association representing the entire natural products industry. We advocate for our members who supply, manufacture and sell natural ingredients or products for consumers. The Natural Products Association promotes good manufacturing practices as part of the growth and success of the industry. Founded in 1936, NPA represents over 700 members accounting for more than 10,000 locations of retailers, manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors of natural products, including foods, dietary supplements, and health/beauty aids. Visit www.npanational.org.