There is no such thing as a sunscreen pill, and the FDA told companies selling these fake products to stop. According to a statement released by FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, the FDA “sent warning letters to companies illegally marketing pills and capsules labeled as dietary supplements that make unproven drug claims about protecting consumers from the harms that come from sun exposure.”
All Sunscreen Pills Are Fake and Dangerous
The federal agency’s press release specifically mentioned four products: Advanced Skin Brightening Formula, Sunsafe Rx, Solaricare and Sunergetic. Numerous other products are on the market, including many sold on Amazon.com and other major retailers. For example, Heliocare Skin Care Dietary Supplement is listed for sale as “Amazon’s Choice” and in the description, says that it is “clinically proven” to work “like an oral sunscreen.” According to the FDA, there’s “no pill or capsule that can replace your sunscreen.”
These products are especially dangerous because they can give consumers a “false sense of security,” according to Gottlieb. Companies marketing sunscreen pills are “putting people’s health at risk,” because failure to use adequate sunscreen protection can cause sunburn, early aging, and skin cancer.
Class Action Lawsuits Coming re Fake Sunscreen Pills?
According to attorneys, buyers of these products may be eligible to file a class action lawsuit. A variety of state and federal laws prohibit the marketing and selling of products based on deceptive claims. The FDA does not generally obtain refunds for victims of fraud—that is left to private citizens and private lawyers.
“Legitimate sunscreens are made in a wide range of sun protection factor values, also known as SPF values, and are over-the-counter drugs that come in many forms,” said Gottlieb. These forms, however, do not include pills.
FDA’s Focus on Sunscreen Safety
The FDA’s action comes as part of renewed focus on the safety of sunscreen products. The agency’s press release stated that when “sunscreens first came on the market, they were used only occasionally at the beach.” Now, people are encouraged to use them whenever they are out in the sun—so exposure to sunscreen ingredients is greater than any time in the past.
Individuals who have had sunburns as a result of using these products may have claims against the manufacturers or sellers. Additionally, consumers could have claims for refunds for the money they paid for these fake sunscreen pills. Lawsuits are likely to be filed against those who used false and misleading advertisements in order to induce purchasers to buy products that do not work.
Despite the FDA’s warning letters, these fraudulent products continue to be sold. Careful consumers should do their research before purchasing any pill. Dietary supplements are less regulated that medications used to treat or prevent diseases, and as a result, are often marketed with false or misleading claims.
The FDA’s action against sellers of sunscreen pills was motivated in part by a law called the Sunscreen Innovation Act, passed in 2014. That law provides that federal government to determine whether over the counter sunscreens are generally recognized as safe and effective and ensure that any sunscreens marketed in the United States are appropriately labeled.