Washington, DC - Federal Trade Commission staff has sent 10 warning letters to online marketers selling products that purportedly provide protection from the Zika virus.
It appears that some online marketers may be trying to take advantage of consumer concerns about the mosquito-borne virus. The letters warn the recipients that Zika protection claims must be supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence in the form of well-controlled human clinical testing.
The products of concern include wristbands, patches, and stickers that purportedly can repel the mosquitos that carry Zika or otherwise protect users from the virus. The letters also point out that the testing supporting claims of protection from the Zika virus must use the mosquito species that are able to carry the virus -- and must be able to demonstrate that the repellent effects last as long as advertised.
In addition to warning the marketers that false or misleading claims may violate the FTC Act, subjecting them to legal action, the letters urge them to review the claims that they and their affiliates and distributors are making for their products, and delete or change them immediately if they cannot be substantiated by scientific evidence.
The letters also ask that the recipients report back to the FTC within 48 hours, detailing the specific actions they have taken to remove or change potentially false, misleading, or unsupported claims. The FTC staff is not releasing the names of the marketers sent warning letters.