FTC Approves Final Administrative Consent Order with Marketer of Product Falsely Claiming to Prevent or Treat COVID-19
Following a public comment period, the Federal Trade Commission has approved a final administrative consent order settling charges that a California-based marketer of a supplement called Thrive, which consists mainly of Vitamin C and herbal extracts, made baseless claims that it can treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of COVID-19.
According to the FTC’s April 2020 administrative complaint, since at least December 2018, Marc Ching, doing business as Whole Leaf Organics, advertised and sold Thrive online, through his Whole Leaf Organics website, and in March 2020 began marketing it as an “anti viral wellness booster” that treats, prevents, or reduces the risk of COVID-19. The complaint also alleged that Ching used his Whole Leaf Organics website to deceptively advertise and sell three CBD-containing products.
The final order settling the complaint bars Ching’s false and unsubstantiated health claims and requires him to send written notices to customers and retailers of Thrive explaining that it will not treat, prevent, or reduce the risk of COVID-19. He also must tell customers and retailers that the three CBD-containing products will not treat cancer. Finally, the letters must inform customers and retailers of his settlement with the FTC.
The Commission vote approving the final consent order and letter to one public commenter was 3-1-1, with Commissioner Rohit Chopra dissenting and Commissioner Rebecca Slaughter not participating. (The staff contact is Amber Lee, Bureau of Consumer Protection, 202-326-2764.)
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