As we have written about here and on our sister blog, Ad Law Access, regulators have wasted no time in taking enforcement actions against companies’ alleged false marketing around COVID-19. Just today, the Office of the New York Attorney General (“NYAG”) sent a cease and desist letter to CBD company Finest Herbalist for marketing through emails, text messages, and websites that consumers could use its products to “[f]ight back against the coronavirus outbreak,” among other claims.
The letter noted that the World Health Organization has not identified any medicines to treat or prevent coronavirus, thus any claims the company made regarding coronavirus treatment or immunity are false. Therefore, Finest Herbalist’s claims violate New York consumer protection laws prohibiting false advertising and fraudulent and deceptive business practices. The NYAG has given Finest Herbalist 10 business days to respond to the letter and confirm that the company has ceased making the representations.
Regulators have been vigilant in taking action against practices that could mislead or harm consumers during this pandemic, and are not likely to stop anytime soon. In a statement, NY Attorney General Letitia James said, “Deceptive marketing is never acceptable, especially during a time of crisis; this is a matter of public health and safety. My office will continue to root out companies that attempt to illegally profit from this pandemic.”
For more helpful information about legal issues during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit our COVID-19 Response Resource Center. For information about marketing and advertising issues in general, visit our Advertising and Privacy Law Resource Center.