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The agency is working to identify and obstruct scammers looking to profit from the pandemic.
A united effort between federal agencies is underway to combat COVID-19 fraud that ranges from the sale of misbranded drugs claiming to treat COVID-19 to products claiming to prevent the virus. The situation is being monitored by FDA’s COVID-19 Fraudulent Products Task Force. Operation Quack Hack has resulted in hundreds of these products being removed from the marketplace, and FDA has sent more than 120 warning letters to various companies selling these fraudulent products. Fake vaccines have also been reported for sale.
“Consumers should know the COVID-19 vaccines that the FDA has authorized under Emergency Use Authorization cannot be sold online. Legitimate COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed for free. Unfortunately, the agency is aware of reports of unauthorized websites and listings on online marketplaces purportedly offering COVID-19 vaccines for sale. When such online listings are found by or reported to the FDA, the agency notifies the online marketplaces, who can then remove the listings. We are also aware of emails sent to consumers featuring the FDA logo, advising consumers to call a phone number to schedule a vaccination. If consumers are contacted directly by someone who says they are from the FDA about a COVID-19 vaccine appointment, it is a scam,” said Judy McMeekin, Pharm. D., associate commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, in an FDA Voices blog post.
FDA is asking the public to help by being alert about COVID-19 fraud schemes. Resources to help consumers protect themselves from fraud can be found on the agency’s website.