Knockoffs, counterfeits, used, and other questionable products thrive in Amazon's marketplace, including illegal drugs. Now, adding to that bazaar of bogus and crackpot items, Amazon is trying to address the spread of fake "cures" for the coronavirus on its platform, according to a report from CNBC on Thursday.
Jeff Bezos' firm is reportedly sending emails to third party sellers, warning them about their medically false "disinfectants" that could "kill" the deadly coronavirus. It's the least Amazon can do as the outbreak has infected at least 75,700 people, claimed more than 2,100 lives so far, and has led to the rise social media groups that baselessly claim that they can cure the outbreak by insisting people drink bleach, vitamin C, or saltwater. It's mayhem all over.
What Amazon has been saying — In one of the emails obtained by CNBC, Amazon told a third party seller:
This product has been identified as a face mask or related product that makes unapproved medical marketing claims regarding coronavirus or the flu. Products that make medical marketing claims may not be legally marketed in the U.S. without prior review and approval by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Amazon policy prohibits the listing or sale of products that are marketed as unapproved or unregistered medical devices.
And added that:
We took this action because this product is not permitted for sale on Amazon.com. It is your obligation to make sure the products you offer comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and Amazon’s policies.
Is it working? — At the time of this writing, I explored Amazon's marketplace to find these "cures." Kinzua Environmental, which was flagged in CNBC's report as well, is still actively selling an "ultra shield" that "kills" the coronavirus for $40, among others. Clearly Amazon needs to aggressively increase its efforts to battle this dangerous misinformation. For a life-threatening scenario like this, it has absolutely no excuse to be soft on bad actors.