Vile scammers selling bogus covid remedies on eBay claiming they offer 'maximum protection'

THE GOVERNMENT is taking action against heartless fraudsters selling bogus covid remedies on eBay, following an investigation by The Sun.

Faceless online charlatans have been blasted for targeting vulnerable Brits selling "immune boosting supplements" that they claim protect against covid.

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Sellers on the online marketplace were hawking echinacea tablets for as much as £14.99 a bottle, calling them COVID19 "immunity boosters".

Echinacea, a common cold remedy, can be bought at pharmacies and stores for a fraction of the price.

Descriptions of the products claim they are "recommended in respiratory infections" and that they offer "Maximum Virus Defence Protection". 

After The Sun made the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) aware of the bogus products they took action against eBay to remove them.

Most of the listings for the snake-oil meds on eBay offered 20 per cent off if you bought more than one bottle.

When asked directly if the product would protect against covid, a seller replied: "Yes this product will help your immune system against colds, flus and viruses."

According to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) there are no authorised health claims in the UK that any substance can "boost" immunity.

Lynda Scammell, Senior Enforcement Advisor at the MHRA, said: “No medicinal product has a marketing authorisation specifically to treat or prevent COVID-19 and consequently any product offered claiming to treat, prevent or cure COVID-19 is not authorised and cannot be legally sold / supplied within the UK.

“The examples provided are advertised as food supplements but, on review, are considered to be medicinal products and the MHRA will take action to remove them from sale on eBay.

“Medicines that do not hold appropriate licences are not tested to ensure that they meet standards of quality, safety and effectiveness. At best, they won’t work – at worst, they may contain dangerous ingredients. 

No medicinal product has a marketing authorisation specifically to treat or prevent COVID-19

"Buying from an unregulated source is risky, you have no idea what you’ll get. Stay safe and purchase medicines from a pharmacy or legitimate supplier.”

While Echinacea is a common herbal remedy for the common cold, an NHS study found it only reduced the duration of the common cold when it was given with other supplements, and not when it was taken on its own.

Immunologist Professor Sheena Cruickshank, from the University of Manchester, told The Sun:  "The evidence supporting a clinical impact for Echinacea is mostly anecdotal. Controlled clinical trials have failed to produce convincing results.

"Some studies have reported benefits especially on duration of colds but others have not found an effect so overall the data is contradictory and massively variable. 

"There are issues with trials size, analytical approaches and analysis and the lack of regulation around the manufacture of this herbal remedy meaning many commercially available preparations lack the active ingredients that may have an effect on immune cells that make it impossible to say that it has any immune boosting properties."

A spokeswoman for eBay told The Sun: "Sellers are not allowed to make misleading health claims. 

"Our team monitors the platform daily for this type of activity and these listings were removed as part of our ongoing efforts in the prevention of misleading information surrounding COVID-19. 

"We work closely with the MHRA to continually adapt and evolve our measures in this area. 

"We’d advise people only follow official Government and WHO guidance on how to prevent virus transmission."

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