[co-author: Jace Pohlman]
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), just issued seven hemp-CBD-related warning letters to businesses around the country. These warning letters mark the first robust enforcement action by FDA in 2022. Like previous letters, the warnings target claims made by CBD product companies that highlight products are intended to “mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure” a disease or health condition.
The seven warning letters provide insight into what to do—or not do—to avoid the federal government’s wrath.
7 Key Takeaways
The FDA and the FTC are working 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 post directly or link to stories/blogs/articles on websites that make health claims about the impacts of using CBD to fight COVID-19. Such stories/blogs/articles will be attributed to your company as if you made the claim
You are not “safe” if the stories/blogs/articles were positioned as informational pieces and did not attempt to sell or market your company’s CBD products
The FDA is primarily concerned with consumers being misled by articles on a company website and then purchasing products as a direct result of reading such articles
COVID-19-related FDA/FTC warnings may carry more significant fines and penalties than other FDA/FTC CBD product warning letters
Be prepared to quickly react if you receive a warning letter, as businesses only have 48 hours to plan and submit to the FDA/FTC what steps have been taken to remove the claims
It is clear that the FDA and the FTC are focused on preventing consumers from purchasing CBD products based on information released by a company about how its product may treat COVID-19. In addition, the 48-hour timeframe for correction is much shorter than the 15 days previously allowed by the FDA in its warning letters from 2021. Obviously, the federal government wants these violations corrected ASAP. Given the large number of warnings released at once, this may only be the beginning of COVID-19-related violations for CBD products and businesses.