Beware of Fraudulent Coronavirus Tests, Vaccines, and Treatments

 

As many Americans “shelter at home” to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19), some may wonder if there are products they can use to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent the virus from affecting them or their loved ones. Searching the internet for information about COVID-19 may lead to some accurate and helpful information (www.ismp.org/ext/411). But some sites advertise fraudulent products, including products claiming to be tests, medicines, vaccines, or supplements for COVID-19. Don’t be fooled by these products!

First, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is reporting that unauthorized fraudulent test kits are being marketed to test for COVID-19 in the home. At this time, FDA has not authorized any test kits for use in the home. However, FDA clearly sees the value in making safe and accurate test kits available, which may include home collection. The FDA is actively working with test developers on this.

Next, there are no current vaccines or medicines approved by FDA to prevent or treat COVID-19. In fact, COVID-19 has never been seen in humans before, which is why there are no FDA-approved medicines to treat the virus. FDA is working with vaccine and drug companies to develop these products as quickly as possible, but it takes time.  fake test kits

Fraudulent health claims, tests, and products can pose serious health risks by keeping people from seeking appropriate care or can delay necessary medical treatment. Unfortunately, some people and companies illegally market fraudulent products to try to profit from them during a crisis. In fact, FDA and the Federal Trade Commission recently issued warnings to 7 companies that were selling fraudulent COVID-19 products such as teas, essential oils, and tinctures to consumers.

Here’s what you can do: First and foremost, if you can, stay home! Frequently wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and lukewarm water. Hand sanitizer can also be used when necessary (see SAFETY TIP in right column, page 1). If you must go out, maintain social distancing by staying 6 feet away from others, and wear a cloth facemask covering your nose and mouth in public settings where social distancing is difficult (e.g., grocery store, pharmacy).

If you or a loved one have COVID-19 symptoms (e.g., fever, cough, shortness of breath), contact your doctor or healthcare provider. Your doctor or healthcare provider will advise you about whether you should get tested and the process for being tested with an appropriate test. If you or a loved one have symptoms, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for more information (www.ismp.org/ext/421).

Only visit reputable websites (see below) for the most accurate information about COVID-19. Be cautious of websites and stores selling products that claim to test, prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19. While false and misleading claims can seem especially appealing during a national crisis:

· You cannot test yourself in the home for COVID-19 at this time.

· “Miracle cures” that claim scientific breakthroughs are likely a hoax.

· Personal testimonials about products do not replace scientific evidence.

If you have a question about a treatment or test found online, talk to your healthcare provider or doctor. If you have a question about a medicine, call your pharmacist or the FDA. The FDA’s Division of Drug Information (DDI) is available to answer almost any drug question by email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) and by phone (1-855-543-DRUG [3784] and 301-796-3400).

You can find these articles (www.ismp.org/ext/410, www.ismp.org/ext/412, www.ismp.org/ext/413) and more on FDA’s Consumer Health Information website at: www.ismp.org/ext/422. This website features the latest updates on medicines and products regulated by FDA. Sign up for a free email subscription at: www.ismp.org/ext/262.

Created on April 16, 2020

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