New York attorney general: Companies are making false claims about COVID-19 treatments

New York attorney general: Companies are making false claims about COVID-19 treatments

Hemp oil and medical marijuana

Oil containing CBD from agricultural hemp is displayed in Chicago.

New York's top prosecutor is advising consumers about false claims being circulated that certain products can prevent or treat the novel coronavirus.

New York Attorney General Letitia James said Thursday that her office has ordered Finest Herbalist, a company specializing in the sale of cannabidiol, or CBD, to immediately cease and desist the marketing of its product Pure Herbal Total Defense Immunity Blend as a means of curing or treating COVID-19.

In a news release, James said that the World Health Organization has not identified any specific medicine which prevents or treats this disease, making any claim of products being effective at combating and/or treating COVID-19 a violation of state law.

“By misrepresenting the effectiveness of products against COVID-19, companies like Finest Herbalist are giving consumers a false sense of security, putting their very lives at risk,” James said. “Deceptive marketing is never acceptable, especially during a time of crisis; this is a matter of public health and safety. My office will continue to root out companies that attempt to illegally profit from this pandemic.”

The AG's office has sent multiple cease and desist letters to individuals and companies selling and marketing products as treatments or cures for the coronavirus, as well as to hundreds of businesses in New York for charging excessive prices for hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprays, and rubbing alcohol — a violation of New York’s price gouging statute. That statute prohibits the sale of goods and services necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of consumers at unconscionably excessive prices during any abnormal disruption of the market.  

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