Last month the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced a joint effort to remove products from the market that make unproven claims to treat, cure, and prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS. Among the products targeted in the action are Medavir, Herpaflor, Viruxo, C-Cure, and Never An Outbreak.
The agencies issued multiple letters to companies warning that their products violate federal law. Those companies claim that their products treat a range of STDs, including herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, HIV, and AIDS. These products, sold online and in retail outlets, have not been evaluated by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. The joint FDA-FTC action is the first step in keeping these unproven items from being sold to the public and preventing consumers from being misled.
“These products are dangerous because they are targeted to patients with serious conditions, where treatment options proven to be safe and effective are available,” said Deborah M. Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. “Consumers who buy these products may not seek the medical attention they need and could spread infections to sexual partners.”
Further, under the Federal Trade Commission Act it is illegal to make such unsubstantiated treatment claims. “These companies are on notice that advertising health benefits that are not supported by rigorous scientific evidence violates the FTC Act,” said David Vladeck, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “They also should know that health scams that endanger public health will not be tolerated.”
Consumers should be aware that there are no over-the-counter or online drugs or dietary supplements available to treat or prevent STDs. Appropriate treatment of STDs can only occur under the supervision of a health care professional. There are many FDA-approved medications available for treating these conditions, but they do require a prescription.
Visit the FDA’s web site for more information about this action, including the full FDA press.
To learn more about STDs and their treatment, visit the CDC’s Division of Sexually Transmitted Diseases.