Nicole Kornspan, a safety officer at the FDA, explains that these drugs are often "a great temptation to jump at anything that appears to offer a chance for a cure." In addition, pet owners are being suckered in with similar bogus treatments aimed at curing cancer in dogs and cats. These remedies are often quite pricey, although often cheaper than the cost of visiting a vet for proper treatment.
Any medicine that hasn't been tested through the FDA's currently-rigorous process is not guaranteed to work, or not kill you. Unfortunately, Instagram has replaced the state fair or that bodega your uncle told you not to visit as the best place to find all sorts of flim-flam and nonsense.
Unfortunately, social media and drug advertising have made strange, yet comfortable, bedfellows in recent years. Kim Kardashian was slapped with a warning letter after she shared a picture of a drug designed to counter the effects of morning sickness. Kardashian was paid to promote the product and failed to point out that it's never been tested for use on severe cases of the condition.
The agency has instructed the 14 companies in question to remove their exaggerated claims or face further penalties. Unfortunately, as ABC News rightly points out, it's all too easy to simply change the name and open a fresh Instagram account. Similarly, any unscrupulous Instagram influencer can easily take several thousand dollars, take a snap of a pill bottle and ignore the potential catastrophe that could follow.