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  5. The GBS dba Alpha Arogya India Pvt Ltd - 606253 - 04/13/2020
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WARNING LETTER

The GBS dba Alpha Arogya India Pvt Ltd MARCS-CMS 606253 —

Product:
Drugs

Recipient:
Recipient Name
Ajay Goyal
Recipient Title
CEO/Founder
The GBS dba Alpha Arogya India Pvt Ltd

8 New Agarwal Nagar
Navlakha 452001
India

info@alphaarogya.com
Issuing Office:
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research | CDER

United States

Federal Trade Commission

WARNING LETTER

Date:               April 13, 2020

RE:                   Unapproved and Misbranded Products Related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

This is to advise you that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reviewed your website at the Internet address www.alphaarogya.com on April 9, 2020, and April 9, 2020, respectively.  We also reviewed your social media website at www.facebook.com/pg/alphaarogya where you direct consumers to your website, www.alphaarogya.com, to purchase your products.  The FDA has observed that your website offers ayurvedic products (“Alpha 11” and “Alpha 21”) for sale in the United States and that these products are intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19[1] in people.  Based on our review, these products are unapproved new drugs sold in violation of section 505(a) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act), 21 U.S.C. § 355(a). Furthermore, these products are misbranded drugs under section 502 of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. § 352. The introduction or delivery for introduction of these products into interstate commerce is prohibited under sections 301(a) and (d) of the FD&C Act, 21 U.S.C. § 331(a) and (d).

There is currently a global outbreak of respiratory disease caused by a novel coronavirus that has been named “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2” (SARS-CoV-2). The disease caused by the virus has been named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (COVID-19). On January 31, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a declaration of a public health emergency related to COVID-19 and mobilized the Operating Divisions of HHS.[2] In addition, on March 13, 2020, the President declared a national emergency in response to COVID-19.[3] Therefore, FDA is taking urgent measures to protect consumers from certain products that, without approval or authorization by FDA, claim to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19 in people. As described below, you sell products that are intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure COVID-19 in people. We request that you take immediate action to cease the sale of such unapproved and unauthorized products for the mitigation, prevention, treatment, diagnosis, or cure of COVID-19.

Some examples of the claims on your website that establish the intended use of your products and misleadingly represent them as safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19 include:

  • A pop-up window on the homepage states “Reduce your risk of Coronavirus Infection” with images of the products “Alpha-11” and “Alpha-21” below it. A box on the bottom states “To order contact at +91 9300002759 or visit at >>https://www.alphaarogya.com.” [from your website www.alphaarogya.com]
  • The “Alpha 21” product information page states “A new strain of virus called Coronavirus . . . causes fever as well as respiratory symptoms: dry cough, difficulty breathing . . . is ‘highly infectious’ . . . Like cold and flu bugs, it is thought to be spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes.” Below is a photo of a woman holding her throat and directions for “How To Use” “Alpha 21” which includes: “Mix 3 drops of Alpha 21 and ¼ tsp. salt in glass of lukewarm water. Stir well. . . . Dosage can be increased if you have persistent cough. . . . To help clear up your infection completely, keep taking this medicine for 10 days, even if your condition has improved.” [from your website www.alphaarogya.com]
  • “Prevention and Treatment – Coronavirus / Alpha Arogya . . . According to WHO or World Health Organization, the Coronavirus strain that is currently causing havoc on the health of humans is ‘Novel Coronavirus’ (nCoV), which could become deadly for humans if not treated . . . Coronavirus Cure or treatment . . . Alpha Arogya has been instrumental in creating specialized Ayurvedic treatment to cure Coronavirus with its very effective Ayurveda cure products – Alpha 21 . . . and Alpha 11 . . .” [from a January 28 blog post on your website www.alphaarogya.com]
  • “Can Coronavirus be Prevented? Here is the AYURVEDIC solution! Alpha-21 – Protection from cough, cold and flu . . . Alpha-11 – Having difficulty in breathing, then Alpha 11 will be helpful.” The statement is followed by the following hashtags, “#coronavirus #coronavirusindia #Coronavirus #china #CoronavirusWho #COVID19 #coronavirusnews #coronavirusupdate #corona #coronavirusprevention” [from a March 13 post on your Social Media website www.facebook.com/pg/AlphaArogya]
  • “Prevent yourself from being infected by coronavirus by consuming Alpha Arogya’s ayurvedic products like Alpha 21 and Alpha 11, which is [sic] easy to use and has no side effects.” The statement is followed by the following hashtags and URL, “#coronarivirus [sic] #CoronarivirusOutbreak [sic] https://www.alphaarogya.com/products” [from a February 10 post on your Social Media website www.facebook.com/pg/AlphaArogya]

You should take immediate action to correct the violations cited in this letter.  This letter is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of violations that exist in connection with your products or operations.  It is your responsibility to ensure that the products you sell are in compliance with the FD&C Act and FDA's implementing regulations. We advise you to review your websites, product labels, and other labeling and promotional materials to ensure that you are not misleadingly representing your products as safe and effective for a COVID-19-related use for which they have not been approved by FDA and that you do not make claims that misbrand the products in violation of the FD&C Act.  Within 48 hours, please send an email to COVID-19-Task-Force-CDER@fda.hhs.gov describing the specific steps you have taken to correct these violations.  Include an explanation of each step being taken to prevent the recurrence of violations, as well as copies of related documentation.  Failure to immediately correct the violations cited in this letter may result in legal action, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction.

FDA is advising consumers not to purchase or use certain products that have not been approved, cleared, or authorized by FDA and that are being misleadingly represented as safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19. Your firm will be added to a published list on FDA’s website of firms and websites that have received warning letters from FDA concerning the sale or distribution of COVID-19 related products in violation of the FD&C Act. This list can be found at http://www.fda.gov/consumers/health-fraud-scams/fraudulent-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-products. Once you have taken corrective actions to cease the sale of your unapproved and unauthorized products for the mitigation, prevention, treatment, diagnosis, or cure of COVID-19, and such actions have been confirmed by the FDA, the published list will be updated to indicate that your firm has taken appropriate corrective action.

If you cannot complete corrective action within 48 hours, state the reason for the delay and the time within which you will complete the corrections. If you believe that your products are not in violation of the FD&C Act, include your reasoning and any supporting information for our consideration.

If you are not located in the United States, please note that products that appear to be misbranded or unapproved new drugs are subject to detention and refusal of admission if they are offered for importation into the United States. We may advise the appropriate regulatory officials in the country from which you operate that FDA considers your product(s) referenced above to be unapproved and misbranded products that cannot be legally sold to consumers in the United States. 

Please direct any inquiries to FDA at COVID-19-Task-Force-CDER@fda.hhs.gov.

In addition, it is unlawful under the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. 41 et seq., to advertise that a product can prevent, treat, or cure human disease unless you possess competent and reliable scientific evidence, including, when appropriate, well-controlled human clinical studies, substantiating that the claims are true at the time they are made.  For COVID-19, no such study is currently known to exist for the products identified above.  Thus, any coronavirus-related prevention or treatment claims regarding such products are not supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.  You must immediately cease making all such claims for products that you advertise, market, sell, or otherwise promote or make available in the United States.  Violations of the FTC Act may result in legal action seeking a Federal District Court injunction and an order may require that you pay back money to consumers. Within 48 hours, please send an email to Richard Cleland, Assistant Director of the FTC’s Division of Advertising Practices, via electronic mail at rcleland@ftc.gov describing the specific actions you have taken to address the FTC’s concerns. If you have any questions regarding compliance with the FTC Act, please contact Mr. Cleland at 202-326-3088.

  

Sincerely,

/S/

Donald D. Ashley
Director
Office of Compliance
Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
Food and Drug Administration

 

Sincerely,

/S/                                        

Richard A. Quaresima  
Acting Associate Director
Division of Advertising Practices 
Federal Trade Commission

 

[1] As explained in the next paragraph, there is currently an outbreak of a respiratory disease named “Coronavirus Disease 2019” (COVID-19).

[2] Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex M Azar II, Determination that a Public Health Emergency Exists.  Jan. 31, 2020.  (Accessible at https://www.phe.gov/emergency/news/healthactions/phe/Pages/2019-nCoV.aspx).

[3] President Donald J. Trump, Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).  Mar. 13, 2020.  (Accessible at https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-declaring-national-emergency-concerning-novel-coronavirus-disease-covid-19-outbreak/).