Operation Quack Hack: FDA Moves to Stop Fraudulent COVID-19 Products

Richard Franki

May 08, 2020

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No form of human misery can be allowed to go unexploited, and the pandemic, it seems, is no exception.

As part of Operation Quack Hack, the Food and Drug Administration has stepped up its investigation and enforcement efforts against companies and individuals that are "taking advantage of widespread fear among consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic" by selling fake products and treatments for coronavirus.

As of May 7, 2020, the agency had issued 42 warning letters to companies that were "selling unapproved products that fraudulently claim to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19," the FDA announced in a written statement. Of those 42 products, 29 are no longer being sold with any sort of COVID-19 claim.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Operation Quack Hack has uncovered hundreds of such products — drugs, testing kits, and personal protective equipment — being sold online, and complaints were sent to domain-name registrars and Internet marketplaces that have, in most cases, removed the postings, the FDA said.

"We will continue to monitor the online ecosystem for fraudulent products peddled by bad actors seeking to profit from this global pandemic. We encourage anyone aware of suspected fraudulent medical products for COVID-19 to report them to the FDA," the statement said.

Richard Franki can be reached at rfranki@mdedge.com. This article originally appeared on MDedge.

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