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6 p.m.: FTC tells DoTERRA to stop marketing items as coronavirus cures

The Federal Trade Commission sent a letter to doTERRA, telling the company to stop marketing products as coronavirus cures and preventatives.

The Pleasant Grove-based essential oils company was one of 10 multi-level marketing businesses called out by the commission on Friday. All were said to be targeting people with false claims about the health benefits of their products, or how much money people can make selling them.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said there are no products that are proven to treat or prevent COVID-19.

doTERRA was cited for both types of claims. In a letter to doTERRA general counsel, Mark Wolfert, the FTC listed examples of the social media posts made by people selling or representing doTERRA.

One ad featured bottles of peppermint and lemon essential oils, accompanied by the words “#covid #prevention.”

Another said, “For those of you working from home now, who says you ever have to go back? With a little education and a lot of uplifting support … you can take your health and your career future into your own hands.”

The letter asked the company to stop making these claims.

It said, “Even truthful testimonials from participants who do earn significant income or more will likely be misleading unless the advertising also makes clear the amount earned or lost by most participants.”

FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith said in the release that during the coronavirus pandemic, his office is “on the lookout” for these types of false claims.

— Paighten Harkins