The massive media coverage of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and the coordinated efforts to keep it from spreading has created fertile ground for online scammers peddling so-called Ebola treatments.
As fast as news of new experimental Ebola drugs has spread, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers about products being advertised with claims of preventing or treating the deadly virus that in all likelihood do nothing of the things they claim.
In a statement posted on the FDA website, the agency reported that there have been instances of false advertising for a wide range of products. This is particularly dangerous as no drugs or vaccines have been approved to treat Ebola patients.
The FDA warning noted that because “fraudulent products that claim to prevent, treat, or cure a disease all too often appear on the Internet,” misinformation can spread quickly in cases that involve topics that garner heavy media coverage.
“Although there are experimental Ebola vaccines and treatments under development, these investigational products are in the early stages of product development, have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness, and supply is very limited,” the FDA noted. “There are no approved vaccines, drugs, or investigational products specifically for Ebola available for purchase on the internet. By law, dietary supplements cannot claim to prevent or cure disease.”
The statement added, “The FDA monitors for these fraudulent products and false claims and takes appropriate action to protect consumers.” Claims regarding unlawful medical products can be made directly to the FDA by going to their website.