Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) have always been a bit of a taboo subject. Especially it seems among the FDA. In a joint initiative with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Agency has just sent warning letters to more than a dozen companies selling non-prescription products that claim to treat STD’s such as herpes, chlamydia, genital warts, HIV, and AIDS.
Despite names such as Medavir, Herpaflor, Never An Outbreak and C-Cure, the FDA says that none of the products have been proven to prevent, treat or cure any disease. In fact, say FDA scientists, the products are a public health hazard because patients could waste time taking them and delay seeking medical care.
A full list of the companies and products involved can be found here.
These products, sold both online and in retail outlets, often claim to be supported by research. A website for Medavir, made claims the product “has been proven effective in several official university research studies, including an official FDA trial.”
Similarly, Arenvy Laboratories’ website for ImmuneGlory touts the product as “the ultimate herpes outbreak solution” and claims the product “strengthens your immune system so that herpes or cold sores have nowhere to hide.”
However, the Agency says that is has never approved any non-prescription products for sexually transmitted diseases. Drugs are available for herpes, chlamydia, HIV and other diseases, but only via prescription.
“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 Autor, FDA Director of Drug Compliance.
Companies cited by the FDA will have 15 days to take their products off the market. If they do not, the agency can take legal action, including seizing products and taking company officials to court.
Additionally, under the FTC 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.”
While we wait with baited breath to see if the companies will comply, Word on Health cautions its readers that appropriate treatment of STDs can only occur under the supervision of a health care professional.