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In brief

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) sent warning letters to ten companies in recent days, instructing them to cease making any claims that their products treat or prevent COVID-19 and requiring confirmation within 48 hours that such advertising claims have ceased.


Because there are currently no products that have been scientifically proven to prevent or treat COVID-19, any advertising claims that suggest otherwise will be considered unsubstantiated and therefore, unlawful.

One company’s website advertised that it had designed a set of programs for a device that emits a specific sound frequency that would kill the virus. Another company’s website advertised that its air purifiers were proven to prevent the spread of the air-borne virus. Another company used social media to advertise appointments for an intravenous drip that would boost immunity to the virus, and other companies used social media to advertise Vitamin C intravenous treatments, including using “covid 19” and “coronavirus” hashtags.

The FTC continues to monitor social media and online commerce to prevent unsubstantiated advertising claims related to the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. These latest warning letters show that preventing unsubstantiated advertising claims for serious health conditions is a priority for the FTC.

If you have any questions about your COVID-19 advertising, please contact your Baker McKenzie attorney or the authors listed below.


David Clanton focuses his practice on antitrust and consumer protection matters, with emphasis on government investigations and related regulatory issues. He is the former chair of Baker McKenzie's Global and North America Antitrust practice groups, and served as a commissioner and acting chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. He is also listed in legal directories, including Washington, DC Super Lawyers and Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Competition and Antitrust Lawyers.


Rebecca helps clients register, protect and enforce their intellectual property in the US and abroad. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Rebecca was a partner at an international law firm and more recently was in-house counsel at a large retailer where she handled brand strategy, brand managing and re-branding initiatives.