FDA Warning Letters Target OTC Cannabidiol Product Claims for Pain Relief

Jeff Evans

March 25, 2021

The Food and Drug Administration has warned two manufacturers about illegal marketing of drugs containing cannabidiol (CBD) for over-the-counter use without an approved new drug application, for using substandard manufacturing processes, and for failure to comply with current good manufacturing practices. These warnings add to 51 previous warning letters issued by the FDA since 2015 to other manufacturers of products containing CBD who were violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

In a news release, the agency explained that its two most recent letters, sent to Honest Globe Inc. on March 15 and BioLyte Laboratories LLC on March 18, were issued because CBD has "known pharmacologic effects on humans, with demonstrated risks, it cannot be legally marketed as an inactive ingredient in OTC drug products that are not reviewed and approved by the FDA." They also describe the companies' failures to comply with current good manufacturing practices.

"The FDA continues to alert the public to potential safety and efficacy concerns with unapproved CBD products sold online and in stores across the country," FDA Principal Deputy Commissioner Amy P. Abernethy, MD, PhD, said in the release. "It's important that consumers understand that the FDA has only approved one drug containing CBD as an ingredient [Epidiolex]. These other, unapproved, CBD products may have dangerous health impacts and side effects. We remain focused on exploring potential pathways for CBD products to be lawfully marketed while also educating the public about these outstanding questions of CBD's safety. Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor and take action, as needed, against companies that unlawfully market their products — prioritizing those that pose a risk to public health."

The specific products from Santa Ana, Calif.-based Honest Globe that the FDA called unapproved new drugs and misbranded under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act included Elixicure Original Pain Relief and Elixicure Lavender Pain Relief, both of which were described as containing CBD. Products from Grand Rapids, Mich.–based BioLyte Laboratories LLC that the FDA similarly cited for violations included Silver Gel, Silver Gel with Aloe, Silver Liquid Supplement, Therapeutic Pain Gel, Pain Relief Cream, and Magnesium Oil Spray.

The agency has asked the two companies to respond to its letters within 15 working days, "stating how they will address these violations or providing their reasoning and supporting information as to why they believe these products are not in violation of the law. Failure to adequately address the violations promptly may result in legal action, including product seizure and/or injunction."

This article originally appeared on MDedge.com, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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