The Food and Drug Administration has taken action against 17 companies that falsely claimed their products — mainly dietary supplements — can be used to cure or prevent serious diseases, including Alzheimer’s.
In a statement, the FDA said that ads for these supplements typically appear on social media. The products, made by companies both within the U.S. and as far away as China, have not been approved by the FDA as safe or effective and are therefore in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
The agency issued 12 warning letters and 5 online advisory letters to the companies found in violation of the regulations.
FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said these illegal products can prevent people from seeking effective treatment.
“(They) prey on vulnerable populations, waste money and often delay proper medical care,” he said in a statement.
The FDA has issued over 40 warnings to similar companies in the past five years, but according to the agency, new unsafe and unapproved products continue flooding the market. Once a company is stopped from selling the supplement, they can simply move their marketing operations to new websites, according to the FDA.
As the market for dietary supplements continues to grow, the agency hopes to crack down on illegal producers with a set of new policy measures. This includes quicker communication with the public about unsafe products and regulations that promote innovation while upholding safety.