In a joint statement, Laban Konsyumer Inc. (a consumer protection group) and the EcoWaste Coalition (a zero waste and toxics-free advocacy group) called for consumer vigilance against deceptive or false advertising in the digital market amid the COVID-19 crisis.
At the same time, the groups urged the government and business sectors to monitor, filter and remove such misleading product advertisements on a sustained basis, and to hold the offenders legally liable.
“Amid the COVID-19 outbreak, we urge all sectors, especially online shoppers, to be diligent and prudent when buying health products as the authorities have yet to approve specific treatments for this disease. As we call on the government to crack down on misleading product advertisements and promotions, we urge the public to follow the basic protective measures against the coronavirus as recommended by the Department of Health and the World Health Organization,” said Atty. Vic Dimagiba, President, Laban Konsyumer Inc.
“As the sale of unnotified or unregistered products, including those already banned for containing illegal ingredients such as mercury and other chemicals of concerns, proliferates online, we appeal to government regulators and the administrators of online shopping platforms to regularly monitor, filter and remove advertisements for such products and to act against their perpetrators,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
According to the monitoring conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, some health products are advertised as “coronavirus protection” and marketed as highly effective as can be gathered from unsubstantiated claims like “can kill 99.9% of viruses,” “virus filtration of 99.7% and “inactivates coronavirus within 1 minute 99.99%.”
To discourage enterprising groups and individuals from taking advantage of the public health emergency for monetary gains, the groups called for heightened vigilance and action against unauthorized and misleading advertisements and promotions of COVID-related health products.
When buying any health product, the groups reminded consumers to read the product labeling information very carefully, check if it has a certificate of product registration (CPR), and if its manufacturer, importer or distributor has the license to operate (LTO).