The United States Food and Drug Administration has sent a warning letter to the Vivify Holistic Clinic, a holistic medicine clinic based in Sarnia, Ontario, for selling products that are intended to treat, or prevent COVID-19, commonly known as coronavirus.
The letter, which was sent on March 6, requested that there be immediate action to end the sale of the unapproved and unauthorized products.
The letter also said that FDA reviewed the website coronavirusdefense.com, operated by Vivify Holistic Clinic and found some examples of claims that show the intended use of products and mislead customers into thinking that the products are safe and effective at treating coronavirus.
The FDA listed five examples of Vivify Holistic Clinic’s claims in its letter. One of the examples is a Facebook post Vivify Holistic Clinic made on Jan. 27, 2020, which linked to coronavirusdefense.com.
“Regarding the Wuhan Coronavirus: Stephen Buhner . . . has done extensive research on coronaviruses . . . He has treated them very successfully using his protocols. A few days ago he posted on facebook a 4 part protocol specific for the Wuhan outbreak. The last few days I have been working very hard to set up a website coronavirusdefense.com up to sell Mr. Buhner’s protocol,” a Facebook post from Vivify Holistic Clinic said, according to the FDA.
When visiting Vivify’s Facebook page today, the post does not appear. The website coronavirusdefense.com redirects to herbalprotocol.com, which explicity said that the products sold are not intended to replace medical treatment, there are no claims to cure any medical condition, and that the products have not been evaluated by Health Canada or the FDA.
Radio-Canada International reached out to the Vivify Holistic Clinic for further clarifications but they did not respond by press time.
The FDA and the Federal Trade Commision sent out the letters in order to protect Americans during the global coronavirus outbreak. As of publishing this story, there are over 750 cases of coronavirus in the US.
Once warned, companies have 48 hours to contact the FDA and explain the steps they have taken to correct the violations.
Six other businesses in the United States also received warning letters from the FDA for violations related to coronavirus treatment or prevention.
‘‘There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19,’’ the FDA said in a press release yesterday morning. ‘‘Although there are investigational COVID-19 vaccines and treatments under development, these investigational products are in the early stages of product development and have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness.’’
In a statement sent to Radio Canada-International, Health Canada said that they have not approved any product to treat COVID-19, and that it is aware that the FDA issued warnings to seven companies for falsely selling products that claim to cure, treat or prevent the virus.
Health Canada will also followup on two companies, the Vivify Holistic Clinic, and The Jim Bakker Show, and assess the other cases the FDA referenced and check wether or not the same products are being sold in Canada.
‘‘Selling unauthorized health products or making false or misleading claims to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19 is illegal in Canada. ‘‘The Department takes this matter very seriously and will take action to stop this activity,” Health Canada said in an email.
With files from CBC News and Sanjay Maru