Thursday, April 08, 2010

Bee Product Firm Targeted by FDA Still Open for Business

Hayward Firm in Limbo Over FDA Charges
After federal marshals seized many of its products this week, Beehive Botanicals Inc. in Hayward is still open for business.
By Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune, 4/8/2010

After federal marshals seized many of its products this week, Beehive Botanicals Inc. in Hayward is still open for business.

But while its case is pending, the company is not able to sell its creams, throat spray, shampoos, tablets and capsules made from bee pollen, honey and other bee-derived ingredients.

“We are not able to sell our brand of goods at this point,” said Sally Gagan, company vice president. “But we’re also a custom manufacturer, and we can still do that.”

Marc Ullman, the company’s attorney, admits the press release issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week about the business came across as “alarming.”

The FDA accused the company of continuing to market its products with unproven medical claims, despite previous requests and warnings to stop. Those product claims include preventing, treating or curing asthma, ulcers, kidney disease, bone fractures and even cancer as well as products with supposed antibiotic and antiviral properties.

“The company was marketing their products in a manner they thought appropriate,” Ullman said. They didn’t realize that with medical claims, products fall under the category of drugs, making them subject to strict FDA regulation, he said.

After Beehive Botanicals received an FDA warning in 2007, the company changed its product labels and its Web site.

But a seldom-used link remained to another Web site that still carried the medical claims, Ullman said.

“Really it was an oversight when they revamped their Web site,” Ullman said. “They didn’t take this link down. It fell through the cracks. The company acknowledges it should have taken that link down.”

That link has since been removed, he said...


Antonia - Beauty Health Finance and Green Issues Editor said...

I just skimmed this article quickly, but it was silly for this company to make medical claims, everyone who sells alternative remedies knows that.

However, it makes more sense to get testimonials from REAL people who have seen or felt a benefit from using the products. that will definitely sell a product more easily than wild claims like curing kidney problems and so on.

Marc Ullman said...

Unfortunately both the FDA and the FTC consider testimonials to be claims. Once a company makes use of any testimonial in any promotional activity, regulators treat it exactly as they would any other product claim.