Beware of 'Snake Oil' Coronavirus Cures
Have you heard of any Coronavirus scams?
Taking Advantage of a Crisis
As long as there has been human medicine, there have been scammers promoting fake cures to enrich themselves at the expense of people looking for relief from an illness or malady.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has given rise to a number of “snake oil cures” that falsely claim to treat or prevent the infection and have been disseminated on social media.
Some of these fake coronavirus cures pose grave health threats to people who pursue them.
For example, the French Ministry of Health shot down an internet rumor that the use of cocaine could cure coronavirus, warning that cocaine “can seriously harm people’s health and create undesirable effects.” Cocaine is also an illegal controlled substance in both the U.S. and France.
Another dangerous activity purported to cure coronavirus is drinking bleach, which the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) warns can cause “severe vomiting, severe diarrhea, life-threatening low blood pressure caused by dehydration and acute liver failure."
Garlic & Masturbation
Other benign but false coronavirus “cures” include eating garlic and masturbation.
FDA Fighting Back
The federal government is taking action against entities that are marketing products that falsely claim to prevent or treat coronavirus.
On March 9, 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FDA sent warning letters to seven sellers of “unapproved and misbranded products” ― including teas, essential oils, and colloidal silver ― that claimed they could treat or prevent the coronavirus.
The seven companies include:
- Vital Silver
- Aromatherapy Ltd.
- GuruNanda, LLC
- Vivify Holistic Clinic
- Herbal Amy LLC
- The Jim Bakker Show
How to Avoid Coronavirus Scams
- Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. They could download viruses onto your computer or device.
- Watch for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the Coronavirus, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Ignore online offers for vaccinations. There currently are no vaccines, pills, potions, lotions, lozenges or other prescription or over-the-counter products available to treat or cure Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) — online or in stores.
- Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.
— Eric Revell
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