The rules and issues around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve and information changes consistently. Please take note of when our content was written and always go to the sources we’ve provided for the most current guidance.
There is a small minority of people looking to profit off the current environment of fear and uncertainty by selling or marketing false or misleading health products that they may claim treat, prevent or cure COVID-19. To help keep you safe, today we’re sharing some information from the Government of Canada on false and misleading COVID-19 claims, and what to do if you come across them.
Is there a fix-all?
The Government of Canada has stated that currently, they have not approved any product to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19. This means that health products that claim to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19 are fraudulent. Unfortunately, there is no miracle remedy for COVID-19.
What we know helps:
While there are no miracle cures, preventions or treatments for COVID-19, we can make a difference by reducing the spread of COVID-19. To do this, continue to follow the prevention recommendations of our governments and health authorities.
These recommendations include:
- Staying home as much as possible
- Practicing good hand hygiene
- Coughing and sneezing into an elbow or tissue
- Avoiding touching your face with unwashed hands
And, by practicing physical distancing :
Additionally, the Federal Government has specified that the only products that are likely to be effective for use against COVID-19 are Health Canada approved disinfectants (for use only on appropriate surfaces, as directed) and Health Canada approved hand sanitizers. While they do not claim to kill viruses like COVID-19, cleaners can also play a role in limiting the transfer of microorganisms.
What you can do if you see false and misleading claims:
Don’t use, or stop using the healthcare product:
- If you’ve purchased a misleading or fraudulent healthcare product: do not use or stop using the healthcare product and consult a healthcare professional if you have concerns.
- If you’ve seen but haven’t purchased a misleading or fraudulent healthcare product: Don’t buy in! Our blog post on protecting yourself from scams and fraud may help you know what to look for if something feels ‘off.’
- Check whether a drug or natural health product and its claims have been authorized for sale by Health Canada:
- Check whether an online pharmacy is legitimate by contacting the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia.
- Selling or advertising health products that make false or misleading claims is illegal. You can submit a false or misleading claim report on the Government of Canada website if you think you’ve seen this behaviour in the marketplace.
You can also check out some other “what you should do” tips available on the Government of Canada’s website.
We hope this information will help you to be discerning when considering health products, especially in a climate that can fuel anxiety and fearmongering. Continue to turn to reputable sources like the BC Centre for Disease Control (BC CDC) and the Government of Canada when you’re looking for up-to-date COVID-19 information.
Did you like this? You might like these posts too!
- COVID-19: which disinfectants work?
- COVID-19: protecting yourself from scams and fraud
- Physical distancing: myths and reminders
- Masks and COVID-19: what we know right now
Where do we fit in?
Yes, we are a provincial regulator. We are responsible for some very specific transactions in BC. We aren’t experts on COVID-19. We won’t – and shouldn’t – ever give medical or legal advice. But we are in a unique circumstance right now and we want to help people navigate the current reality. We don’t have all the answers, but we will do our best to share information from reliable sources, put it in ways that are easy to digest and understand, provide referrals and help you navigate this situation.
About Consumer Protection BC:
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.