[co-author: Jace Pohlman]
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), has just issued seven warning letters related to hemp-CBD to businesses nationwide. These warning letters mark the FDA’s first robust enforcement action in 2022. Like previous letters, the warnings target claims made by CBD product companies that highlight the products are intended to “mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure” a disease or health condition.
The Seven Warning Letters outline what to do or what not to do to avoid the wrath of the federal government.
FDA and FTC work together to review websites, social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and issue warning letters
Do not make health claims about a CBD product intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19
Do not directly post or link to stories/blogs/articles on websites that make health claims about the impacts of using CBD to combat COVID-19. These stories/blogs/articles will be attributed to your business as if you made the request
You are not “safe” if the stories/blogs/articles were positioned as news items and did not attempt to sell or market your company’s CBD products
The FDA is primarily concerned that consumers are misled by articles on a company’s website and then purchase products as a direct result of reading those articles.
FDA/FTC warnings related to COVID-19 may result in higher fines and penalties than other FDA/FTC CBD Product Warning Letters
Be prepared to react quickly if you receive a warning letter, as companies only have 48 hours to plan and submit to the FDA/FTC the steps that have been taken to remove the claims.
It is clear that the FDA and FTC are working to prevent consumers from purchasing CBD products based on information published by a company about how its product may treat COVID-19. Additionally, the 48-hour correction timeframe is much shorter than the 15 days previously allowed by the FDA in its 2021 warning letters. Clearly, the federal government wants these violations corrected as soon as possible. Given the large number of warnings issued at once, this may just be the start of COVID-19 related violations for CBD products and businesses.