Last December, Congress passed the COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, which, for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, makes it unlawful under for any person, partnership, or corporation to engage in a deceptive act or practice in or affecting commerce associated with the treatment, cure, prevention, mitigation, or diagnosis of COVID–19 or a government benefit related to COVID–19.
But as Ivan Wasserman, the managing partner of the law firm Amin Talati Wasserman LLP points out, he’s witnessed a number of unscrupulous players exploit various health crises over his 25 years in practice.
“It’s a fascinating thing and sort of sad thing that we've seen over the years time and time again, when there is a public health crisis, whether it was the SARS vaccine, whether it was even Anthrax in the mail, whether it's Zika, you see people trying to take advantage of those public health crises and you see a lot of products claiming to treat, cure or prevent those things that are foremost on everyone's mind and take advantage, even if the science isn't there and even though they're not allowed to make disease treatment claims.”
Wasserman added that another trend he has seen is the upswing in class actions filed in California, with class actions against food and beverage companies up nearly 400% since 2010. As a result, Amin Talati Wasserman decided to open an office in the state to better serve clients.
Consumer class action lawsuits against manufacturers and retailers of food, beverage, dietary supplement, and cosmetic products have been growing over the years, more than half of all filings involving dietary supplements in 2020 were made in California.
Wasserman said to avoid such lawsuits, he recommends companies informed. “NutraIngredients is a great way to stay apprised,” added Wasserman.