Subcommittee Chair Krishnamoorthi Presses Trump Administration to Enforce Law Against Companies Illegally Selling Scam Coronavirus Drugs
Washington, D.C. (Oct. 28, 2020)—Today, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to Dr. Stephen Hahn, Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and Chairman Joseph Simons, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), seeking information about FDA and FTC efforts to eliminate the sale, distribution, and prescription of the drug thymosin alpha-1 for treating coronavirus.
“As you know, thymosin alpha-1 has not been approved by FDA, nor has it been proven safe or effective for treating coronavirus,” Krishnamoorthi wrote. “Though FDA and FTC have warned some companies that their marketing and sale of thymosin alpha-1 is unlawful, recent reports indicate that such piecemeal action may not be enough. The Subcommittee calls on FDA and FTC to enforce existing laws to eliminate the sale, distribution, and prescription of the drug.”
One report identified more than 30 medical practice groups and compounding pharmacies across more than a dozen states that have made false claims about thymosin alpha-1 on their websites and on social media since the pandemic began. The majority of practices promoting thymosin alpha-1 do not specialize in infectious diseases, but rather “focus on plastic surgery or promote ‘wellness,’ ‘anti-aging’ and ‘regenerative’ medicine.”
The unauthorized sale of thymosin alpha-1 is lucrative. A month’s supply of thymosin alpha-1 costs consumers up to $400 out of pocket. But the sale of “miracle cures” during a pandemic has obvious public health risks. People who take them and assume they are protected risk infecting others. Beyond that, scam sales of this product present significant economic harm to consumers.
“The Subcommittee supports actions taken by the FDA and FTC to issue several warning letters to entities promoting the unapproved drug as a coronavirus treatment,” Krishnamoorthi wrote. “However, such piecemeal enforcement is not working: medical practices and manufacturers are making dangerous and false claims because warning letters carry no penalty. A wellness clinic can break the law and wait to be caught, knowing the worst they face is being asked to stop.”
Subcommittee Chair Krishnamoorthi also called on FDA and FTC to open an investigation into VitaLifeMD, and to take all appropriate action against the company and its principals. VitaLifeMD has falsely claimed that thymosin alpha-1 is an “FDA-approved” drug that worked like “magic” and was “one of the best ways to prevent and fight” coronavirus.
Click here to read today’s letter.