SHERMAN OAKS—Herbal supplier, Whole Leaf Organics, agreed to a preliminary order barring the company from claiming it can treat, prevent, or reduce the risks associated with COVID-19 with a herbal supplement called ‘Thrive’ on Monday, April 27. Whole Leaf Organics is currently operated by Marc Ching at 14900 W Magnolia Blvd #57347 in Sherman Oaks, California.
Since at least December 2018, Ching has advertised and sold a product called ‘Thrive’ online through Whole Leaf Organics with a 50-capsule bottle for $36.99. In March 2020, Ching began marketing Thrive as an “anti viral wellness booster” that treats, prevents, or reduces the risk of COVID-19. There is no current treatment for Coronavirus.
The complaint against Ching filed by the Federal Trade Commission claimed connection to the company labeling, advertising, marketing, and distributing ‘Thrive’ as a product that purportedly treats, prevents or reduces the risk of the Coronavirus disease.
The complaint also alleges that since at least December 2018, Ching used Whole Leaf Organics to advertise and sell cannabis based products CBD-EX, CBD-RX, and CBD-Max. CBD-EX is an ingestible capsule consisting mainly of a combination of cannabis oil and herbal extracts. CBD-RX and CBD-Max are oils composed primarily of CBD and hemp extract. Thirty capsules of CBD-EX retailed for $39.99, while CBD-RX and CBD-Max sold for $75 and $125 per bottle.
Whole Leaf Organics alleged via its website that products CBD-EX, CBD-RX, and CBD-Max treat cancer and cancer symptoms. Advertisements claimed that the use of the supplements were scientifically or clinically proven as efficient in the immune system.
Pending the resolution of a parallel administrative case, the proposed preliminary order also bars Marc Ching from claiming that three additional CBD-based products sold by Whole Leaf Organics are effective cancer treatments. “There’s no proof that any product will prevent or treat COVID-19 or that any CBD product will treat cancer,” said Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith.
The Federal Trade Commission has approved the issuance of an administrative complaint containing the allegations about the health claims Ching made for Thrive and the CBD-based products. In the administrative case, the FTC is seeking an order permanently halting the advertising for Thrive, CBD-EX, CBD-RX, and CBD-Max.
The Commission vote authorizing the staff to issue an administrative complaint and seek a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction was 5-0. The complaint seeking temporary relief was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California.
The administrative case is scheduled to begin on January 7, 2021.