Dr. Weil's Response to Today Show Story, 10/16/2009
For immediate release.
TUCSON, Ariz, Oct. 16, 2009 - I have received several inquiries regarding a segment on NBC's Today Show that aired Friday, Oct. 16, 2009. The segment was about an FDA/FTC warning that was issued to numerous websites and other media outlets. The warning stated that the recipients had made marketing claims that "unapproved/uncleared/unauthorized" products could "diagnose, mitigate, prevent, treat or cure" the H1N1 flu virus in human beings. My website, www.drweil.com, was included in the list.
Many of the outlets on the list promoted products that were unethical and clearly egregious violations of FDA standards, including counterfeit versions of pharmaceuticals such as Tamiflu. Weil Lifestyle, LLC, the company that sells vitamins and herbal supplements under my name, has never made or marketed a product of that nature.
The content that was called into question in the warning was primarily educational, including appropriate strategies to avoid getting the flu this season. It included the official recommendations for H1N1 flu vaccination from the Centers for Disease Control. The content also included comments about ingredients in Weil Lifestyle and other supplements which may help support a healthy immune system.
Because these products and the flu (which is a medical diagnosis) were both mentioned in editorial content on the site, and it was suggested that particular traditional herbal ingredients may provide some protection against flu, it was the opinion of the FDA/FTC that the language was in violation of current standards.
All Weil editorial content is reviewed for compliance with FDA /FTC guidelines. I directed the website team to remove the FDA/FTC-referenced content for review, and they have done so. I fully support the FDA/FTC task force in its efforts.