Amazon removes 1 million products claiming to cure coronavirus

The retailer also takes down thousands of listings from sellers it says were price gouging.

Oscar Gonzalez Former staff reporter
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Amazon is putting a stop to those taking advantage of the viral outbreak. 

Ben Fox Rubin/CNET

As a novel coronavirus continues to spread globally, Amazon is clamping down on merchants looking to take advantage of people's fears about the virus.

The online retail giant removed more than 1 million listings for items claiming to cure or defend against the coronavirus, according to a report from Reuters on Thursday. The company also said it removed thousands of items from merchants for price gouging

"There is no place for price gouging on Amazon," an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement Friday. "We are disappointed that bad actors are attempting to artificially raise prices on basic need products during a global health crisis and, in line with our long-standing policy, have recently blocked or removed tens of thousands of offers. We continue to actively monitor our store and remove offers that violate our policies."

Watch this: Coronavirus and COVID-19: Everything you need to know

The virus was first reported on Dec. 31 in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Since then, more than 89,000 people have been infected worldwide, with more than 3,000 deaths. Cases have been reported around the world, with notable outbreaks in countries including Japan, South Korea and Italy. 

Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and the National Institutes of Health produced the first 3D map of the coronavirus earlier this month. This will help in developing a vaccine, which the US National Institutes of Health says is a year or more away. 

Facebook is another company putting its foot down on false cures. The social media company said Tuesday it'll remove ads touting cures for the virus

Originally published Feb. 28. 6:59 a.m. PT.
Update, 10:25 a.m. PT: Adds additional background info. March 2: Adds Amazon statement. 

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