The First 2023 Warning Letter Belongs to a CBD Company
Remove COVID claims including on YouTube
The first "supplement" warning letter of 2023 belongs to a CBD company. 2022 was the year of the CBD warning letter, and FDA enforcement in this area appears to be continuing.
This warning letter is another reminder that no company is "too small to be off FDA's radar." A video cited in this letter only had 19 views at the time I wrote this post! This is the most unpopular video I have ever seen cited in a warning letter demonstrating that any online marketing is fair game for enforcement. I write more about this here.
This company was marketing a cannabinoid product for COVID protection on its website, socials, and YouTube. There were several similar warning letters last year involving companies citing research about cannabinoids and COVID. I usually take a "maybe they didn't know any better” attitude when looking at enforcement and compliance, but in this case, the company should have known better because of the well-publicized action against other CBD companies for this same type of statements.
Here are some critical posts about CBD enforcement in 2022.
CBD enforcement is top of mind for FDA. This includes animal warning letters.
This letter mentions several claims made in YouTube videos. Last year nine warning letters cited claims made on YouTube, and I expect this enforcement trend to continue. I write more about this here.
This letter cites claims made on the company's social media from early in the pandemic. As we've discussed many times on Warning Letter Wednesday several times before, companies are responsible for all social media posts, even if they are several years old.
From warning letter. "COVID prevention with CBD? Canada study shows it's possible. Might be time to start a daily dose of…… all-natural pharmaceutical grade CBD products…. USE CODE: COV19" [from a May 15, 2020, post on your Facebook social media webpage"
This letter also cites the product code "COV19" which is a bold claim and further shows the intended marketing use of the product. This is a reminder that items like meta tags, product tags, search tags, and coupon codes are considered marketing.
This is a joint FDA and FTC warning letter, which is common when COVID claims are cited. This is serious, and it also involves a cease and desist barring the company from making COVID-related claims or face injunction, a civil penalty of up to $46,517 per violation requirements to refund customers.
Read the full warning letter here.
Disclaimer: The educational information provided here is for informational purposes only. Contact an attorney for specific legal advice. Rule #1 in compliance is to ensure marketing is truthful and not misleading.