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FDA Calls Purell’s Flu-Fighting Claims False

Fake news. False flu protection.

That’s what the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is calling the claims of the nation’s biggest hand sanitizer company. The FDA warned GoJo Industries, the parent company of Purell hand sanitizer, in January to stop claiming the products can protect people from infections and illnesses. 

According to the FDA, GoJo’s long-standing claim that using Purell could keep people from acquiring illnesses such as the flu, Ebola virus, norovirus and the MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylocorrusaureus) violates federal laws. The products in question include Purell advanced hand sanitizer gentle & free foam, Purell advanced hand sanitizer gentle & free foam ES6 starter kit.

Widely publically recognized as one of the leading names in hand sanitization, the FDA will now reclassify Purell as an unapproved drug, rather than an over-the-counter product. The New York Times reported the FDA took Gojo to task for unproven claims on the company’s websites and social media accounts, including “Purell Products are proven to reduce absenteeism” and Purell “kills more than 99.99 percent of the most common germs that may cause illness in a healthcare setting, including MRSA.” The agency also debunked Gogo’s claim that suggested that because Purell is made with ethyl alcohol, it might be effective against viruses like Ebola, norovirus and influenza. 

The FDA’s warning comes with the wary planet on edge over the coronavirus, the new viral illness that has killed more than 100 people in China and infected more than 4,500 people worldwide. On January 30, the World Health Organization declared coronavirus a global health emergency. 

“We are not aware of evidence demonstrating that the Purell Healthcare Advanced Hand Sanitizer products as formulated and labeled are generally recognized by qualified experts as safe and effective for use under the conditions suggested, recommended, or prescribed in their labeling,” the FDA’s cease-and-desist letter to GoJo read.

Samantha Williams, GoJo’s corporate communications senior director, told Fox Business News the company has taken action after receiving the FDA’s letter and “have begun updating relevant website and other digital content as directed by the FDA.”

“It is important to emphasize that the FDA letter was not related to the safety or quality of our products, or our manufacturing processes,” Williams said. “Our products can and should continue to be used as part of good hand hygiene practice, to reduce germs. Our intention has always been and continues to be to adhere to FDA guidance while advancing and sharing the latest hygiene science to improve public health. Uncompromising integrity is a core value of our purpose-driven family enterprise and we apply this principle to everything we do.”

But the undisputed, scientifically-proven truth of reputable hand sanitizers such as B4 Brands’ Avant Alcohol-Free Foaming Hand Sanitizer and Avant Foaming Fragrance-Free Instant Hand Sanitizer is that they are extremely effective means of cleansing hands and recommended for use by the U.S. Centers for Disease Controls & Prevention when soap and water are not available.