FDA: Hand Sanitizers Don’t Prevent MRSA

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) – The Food and Drug Administration is reminding consumers that using hand sanitizers won’t protect them from serious infections, after issuing warning letters to four manufacturers that claimed their hand sanitizers and other over-the-counter drugs would prevent infection from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, or MRSA.

“Consumers are being misled if they think these products you can buy in a drug store or from other places will protect them from a potentially deadly infection,” Deborah Autor, compliance director at the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said in a consumer update Friday.

The letters were issued to Tec Laboratories, JD Nelson and Associates, Dr. G.H. Tichenor Antiseptic Co. and Oh So Clean Inc. and CleanWell Company; their products can be viewed on the FDA’s website.

Among the companies’ unproven claims were that their products kill more than 99.9% of MRSA, help prevent skin infections caused by MRSA and other germs, and effectively block a broad spectrum of pathogens, including MRSA.

The FDA primarily addressed the claims made about preventing MRSA, a bacterium that can cause severe and even life-threatening infections and does not respond to standard treatment with antibiotics. 

The FDA added that hand sanitizer won’t protect consumers from E. coli, salmonella or H1N1, either.

“FDA has not approved any products claiming to prevent infection from MRSA, which a consumer can just walk into a store and buy,” Autor said.

The companies have 15 days to rectify their claims. If they do not respond, the FDA promises to take legal action, including “seizure” and injunction.

“MRSA is a serious public health threat,” Autor said. “The FDA cannot allow companies to mislead consumers by making unproven prevention claims.”

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