Ebay and Amazon have been ordered by the US Environment Protection Agency (EPA) to stop selling unproven and falsely marketed anti-coronavirus products.
The EPA issued orders to the two online marketplaces yesterday demanding the removal of 70 items which claimed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Bloomberg reported.
Each company could be fined a whopping $20,288 for each of the banned items sold if they do not comply with the new orders.
“Ebay and Amazon have certainly a legal obligation, but also sort of a corporate obligation to ensure that products like this aren’t on their site,” the EPA’s associate deputy administrator Doug Benevento told the publication.
While both companies both state they are taking measures to prevent the sale of falsely labelled anti-virus items, the EPA says this “hasn’t proven to be effective”.
The EPA’s assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance Susan Bodine added: “They have to do a better job of corporate compliance. Clearly, the corporate compliance agreement that we entered into with Amazon back in 2018 isn’t working.”
Ebay has said it has “been employing a combination of digital and manual surveillance tools to remove products like those marketed with the term ‘coronavirus,’ which violates our policies regarding making unsubstantiated health claims.”
It also imposed “Emergency Listing Restrictions” to help tackle price gouging on its platform in March.
As early as February, Amazon said it had removed over 1 million products from its marketplace over false claims about their ability to help fight coronavirus.
It added: “Amazon policy prohibits the listing or sale of products that are marketed as unapproved or unregistered medical devices.”