The FDA has issued a warning to the maker of Purell hand sanitizer to stop making unproven claims that the product can help eliminate diseases like Ebola, MRSA and the flu.
The FDA's director of compliance sent a "warning letter" to Gojo, Purell's parent company, to stop making unproven claims for marketing purposes that could position the hand sanitizer as a pharmaceutical drug.
The letter from the FDA notes that Purell says on its website and on social media that the sanitizer "kills more than 99.99% of the most common germs that may cause illness in a healthcare setting, including MRSA & VRE." Purell and Gojo also note that "Purell Advanced Gel, Foam, and Ultra-Nourishing Foam Hand Sanitizer products demonstrated effectiveness against a drug resistant clinical strain of Candida auris in lab testing.
Finally, the FDA chastised Purell for claiming on the Q&A section on its website that the product can be "effective against viruses such as the Ebola virus, norovirus and influenza." The FDA says it is not aware of any hand sanitizers that have been tested against Ebola.
The FDA told Gojo that right now, it considers Purell an "unapproved drug products." Gojo can now either continue to market Purell as a drug and file an application to have the hand sanitizer classified as such, or stop making such marketing claims altogether.
Despite Gojo's marketing claims, the FDA noted that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends everyone use hand sanitizers like Purell to prevent the spread of the flu.