This blog post was written by Christina I. Ortiz
You might want to rethink buying that bulk-sized hand sanitizer if you’re trying to protect you and your family from Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria (MRSA) and other diseases. FDA is cracking down on over-the-counter (OTC) drug companies that are claiming their products prevent infection from MRSA. The agency has sent letters to firms Tec Laboratories, JD Nelson and Associates, Dr. G.H. Tichenor Antiseptic Co., and Oh So Clean, Inc. (who also does business as “CleanWell Company”), among others.
The products from these manufacturers range from first-aid antiseptics to hand sanitizers and wipes. Marketing campaigns and labels for the items claim that they prevent infection from MRSA and other disease-causing agents, including E.coli and/or the H1N1 influenza virus. These claims are not backed by documented evidence, according to FDA.
The agency’s letters to the manufacturers warn that marketing products with invalid claims is a violation of federal law and could result in legal action. The companies have 15 days to remove the claims from their advertising and labels or face seizure and injunction. Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research said in a press release that, “MRSA is a serious public health threat. The FDA cannot allow companies to mislead consumers by making unproven prevention claims.”
While hand sanitizers and first aid antiseptics are a good way to prevent the spread of bacteria, it’s just as important to use products whose claims are backed by proven research. One shouldn’t be swayed by the “cure-all” preventive aspects that a product may claim to have, especially when there is possibility of safety issues.
Health professionals and consumers that have purchased products from the companies mentioned are encouraged to contact FDA through the agency’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Effect Reporting program and fill out a report if any side effects are experienced.