SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah-based company is being sued by federal regulators over claims that its nasal spray prevents and treats COVID-19.
According to the lawsuit, Xlear Inc., based in American Fork, has been warned on several occasions by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that their claims were misleading.
"Despite repeated warnings from the FTC that Defendants’ deceptive advertising and misrepresentations violated the FTC Act and the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, Defendants continued to make deceptive and misleading statements about the ability of Xlear nasal spray to prevent and treat COVID-19. The United States therefore brings this suit seeking permanent injunctive relief, civil penalties, and other remedies to prevent the harms caused by Defendants," the lawsuit reads.
The FTC says, the company sells a variety of products that contain xylitol, a sugar alcohol, including a line of over-the-counter saline nasal spray products sold under the Xlear Sinus Care brand. These nasal spray products are widely available at national retailers and online, and are labelled as a “Drug-Free” product that can be used to “clean sinus and nasal passages,” and “wash away pollutants.”
The FTC says Xlear began widely advertising their saline nasal spray as a product that is capable of preventing and treating COVID-19 and offers “up to four hours” of protection, and that “people should be using Xlear as part of a layered defense to prevent getting COVID-19.”
The FTC says Xlear lacked any scientific evidence to support the claims in their advertising and despite repeated warnings from the FTC that their advertising was misleading and a violation on the Consumer Protection Act, they continued.
In a statement to FOX 13 News, Xlear Inc. CEO Nathan Jones denied the FTC's charges and said his company based their advertising on a study conducted in Florida which claimed that "people who were already sick with COVID-19, who used Xlear nasal spray—and just Xlear nasal spray—cleared the disease and tested negative in half the time of the average COVID-19 case" and didn't develop severe cases requiring hospitalization.
Jones said his company would fight the FTC lawsuit in court.