FDA warns companies to stop making MRSA claims for over-the-counter products

SILVER SPRING, Md. — The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday issued four warning letters to companies that manufacture and market over-the-counter drug products, including hand sanitizers, that claim to prevent infection from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, or MRSA.

Labeling and marketing materials for the affected products also claim that they can prevent infection from other disease-causing agents. In addition, the labeling of some of the firms' hand-sanitizing drug products make claims related to preventing infection from E.coli and/or H1N1 flu virus. The FDA does not have sufficient evidence demonstrating that these products are safe and effective for these purposes.

"MRSA is a serious public health threat," stated Deborah Autor, director of the Office of Compliance in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. "The FDA cannot allow companies to mislead consumers by making unproven prevention claims."

The FDA warning letters were sent to the following firms:

  • Tec Labs for StaphAseptic first-aid antiseptic/pain-relieving gel;

  • JD Nelson and Associates for Safe4Hours hand-sanitizing lotion and Safe4Hours first-aid antiseptic skin protectant;

  • Dr. G.H. Tichenor Antiseptic Co. for Dr. Tichenor’s antiseptic gel; and

  • Oh So Clean, doing business as CleanWell Co., for CleanWell all-natural foaming hand sanitizer, CleanWell all-natural hand sanitizer, CleanWell all-natural hand sanitizing wipes and CleanWell all-natural antibacterial foaming hand soap.

The warning letters explain that the companies are marketing these products in violation of federal law.

The companies have 15 days to correct the violations cited in the warning letters. Failure to do so may result in legal action, including seizure and injunction, the agency stated.