Department of Health and Human Services
|Public Health Service
Food and Drug Administration
5100 Paint Branch Parkway
College Park, MD 20740
From: FDA FLU TASK FORCE-CFSAN
FROM: Food and Drug Administration
RE: Unapproved/Uncleared/Unauthorized Products Related to the H1N1 Flu Virus
DATE: June 18, 2009
This is to advise you that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed your websites at the Internet addresses www.natren.com and www.truthaboutprobiotics.com on June 17, 2009. The FDA has determined that your www.natren.com website offers a product for sale that is intended to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 Flu Virus in people, as evidenced by statements on your www.truthaboutprobiotics.com website. This product has not been approved, cleared, or otherwise authorized by FDA for use in the diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, treatment, or cure of the H1N1 Flu Virus. This product is Natren Healthy Trinity. The marketing of this product violates the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDC Act). 21 U.S.C. §§ 331, 351,352. We request that you immediately cease marketing unapproved, uncleared, or unauthorized products for the diagnosis, mitigation, prevention, treatment, or cure of the H1N1 Flu Virus.
Some examples of the claims on your www.truthaboutprobiotics.com website include:
- Under the heading "Swine Flu Outbreak and What Can Probiotics Do?": "An article came out today ... suggesting that taking a daily probiotic a day will prevent swine flu -- clearly stating that strong immunity begins with a balanced GUT! ... So, what can you do to protect yourself that is all natural and works with your body's immune system? Natren's Healthy Trinity, a powerful and potent probiotic, is the only probiotic that TAP recognizes to increase your natural immunity because over 70% of your body's immunity lies in your gut! Not to mention, having a potent probiotic strain(s) in your gut, prevent [sic] the bad bacteria and viruses from taking hold and making you ill."
- "Another unique aspect of swine flu is that it is marked by acute gastro-intestinal symptoms: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. These reasons are all the more evidence to take probiotics to support your body's GI tract during any ... flu issues. Other precautions to take include: ... Most importantly, continue taking your Natren's Healthy Trinity at least one capsule three times a day for the maximum protection!"
The Secretary of Health and Human Services, under section 319 of the Public Health Service Act, 42 U.S.C. § 247d, has determined that a public health emergency exists nationwide involving the H1N1 Flu Virus that affects or has the significant potential to affect national security. Following this determination and in response to requests from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, FDA issued letters authorizing the emergency use of certain unapproved and uncleared products or unapproved or uncleared uses of approved or cleared products, provided certain criteria are met, under 21 U.S.C. § 360bbb-3. The marketing and sale of unapproved or uncleared H1N1 Flu Virus-related products that are not authorized by and used in accordance with the conditions of an Emergency Use Authorization, is a potentially significant threat to the public health. Therefore, FDA is taking urgent measures to protect consumers from products that, without approval or authorization by FDA, claim to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure H1N1 Flu Virus in people.
You should take immediate action to ensure that your firm is not marketing, and does not market in the future, products intended to diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure the H1N1 Flu Virus that have not been approved, cleared, or authorized by the FDA. The above is not meant to be an all-inclusive list of violations. It is your responsibility to ensure that the products you market are in compliance with the FFDC Act and FDA's implementing regulations. We advise you to review your websites, product labels, and other labeling and promotional materials to ensure that the claims you make for your products do not adulterate or misbrand the products in violation of the FFDC Act. 21 U.S.C. §§ 331, 351, 352. Within 48 hours. please send an email to FDAFLUTASKFORCECFSAN@fda.hhs.gov describing the actions that you have taken or plan to take to address your firm's violations. If your firm fails to take corrective action immediately, FDA may take enforcement action, such as seizure or injunction for violations of the FFDC Act without further notice. Firms that fail to take corrective action may also be referred to FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations for possible criminal prosecution for violations of the FFDC Act and other federal laws.
FDA is advising consumers not to purchase or use H1N1 Flu Virus-related products offered for sale that have not been approved, cleared, or authorized by FDA. 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 marketing unapproved, uncleared, and unauthorized H1N1 Flu Virus-related products in violation of the FFDC Act. This list can be found at www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/h1n1f1u. Once the violative claims and/or products have been removed from your website, and these corrective 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 are not located in the United States, please note that unapproved, uncleared, or unauthorized products intended to diagnose, mitigate, prevent. treat, or cure the H1N1 Flu Virus offered for importation into the United States are subject to detention and refusal of admission. We will advise the appropriate regulatory or law enforcement officials in the country from which you operate that FDA considers your product listed above to be an unapproved, uncleared, or unauthorized product that cannot be legally sold to consumers in the United States.
Please direct any inquiries concerning this letter to FDA at FDAFLUTASKFORCECFSAN@fda.hhs.gov or by contacting Standra Purnell at 301-436-1613.
Office of Compliance
Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
This page was posted on January 31, 2010.