Essential oils distributors fined by feds over claims of product efficacy against COVID-19

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The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have permanently stopped three distributors of essential oils and dietary supplements from claiming that their products can counteract COVID-19.

The three women, who were high-level distributors of the multi-level marketing company doTERRA, were also fined $15,000 each on Wednesday. 

The three defendants, Georgia nurse practitioner Eliza Bacot, California pediatrician Tina Wong and Lauren Busch, a registered nurse in Utah at the time, appeared in public webinars in January 2022 where they made claims about their products’ ability to cure, prevent or treat COVID-19.

Ms. Bacot claimed that doTERRA products helped with post-inflammation bodily response and COVID-19’s replication in the body. She also said another product could prevent or treat COVID-19 with “the oils in there like tangerine and cilantro, which help the body detox and also repair,” according to the FTC.

Ms. Busch said her products could inhibit the COVID-19 spike protein that causes inflammation and that they could mitigate purported negative health effects from COVID-19 vaccines.

Ms. Wong claimed that essential oils containing lemon and geranium prevented the binding of the COVID-19 virus to human cells and that “a lot of studies” showed oregano also worked against coronavirus.

Each defendant is prohibited from making claims of efficacy against COVID-19 unless those claims are backed by the Food and Drug Administration. Other health claims must be supported by human clinical testing or equivalent scientific proof.

“Those making baseless claims that essential oils and supplements can prevent or treat COVID-19 will pay a price. Today’s actions against doTERRA ‘wellness advocates’ should be a reminder that distributors for multilevel marketing companies can face consequences for making deceptive claims,” said Sam Levine, director of the FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Company representatives did not respond to a request for comment.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.





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