US Justice moves as coronavirus treatment frauds multiply

Washington (AFP) –


First it was bleach solutions, then massive infusions of vitamin C and "ozone therapy," and now silver drinks: the US Justice Department is taking down bogus coronavirus treatments that have spread almost as fast as the disease itself.

On Wednesday a federal court in Utah moved to block the latest scheme to prey on the public's fears in the COVID-19 pandemic.

It placed a temporary restraining order on Gordon Pedersen to stop him from marketing "ingestible silver" as protection against coronavirus.

It also blocked assets of Pedersen, who markets himself as a "doctor" and forbid two of his companies, My Doctor Suggests LLC and GP Silver LLC, from promoting or selling silver products which purportedly help against COVID-19.

Pedersen, who says he has doctorate degrees in toxicology and naturopathy, has been promoting silver solutions, gels, soaps and capsules as cure-alls since at least 2014, according to court documents.

Since coronavirus broke out in the United States, he has said in marketing videos and podcasts that ingesting silver "can destroy coronavirus, and remove it from the body, assuring the user will never get COVID-19."

Court records say that his sales have picked up strongly, led by his $300, one-gallon (3.8 liters) silver solution.

Pedersen is not the only one to peddle unproven coronavirus protections and cures to unwitting consumers.

In Detroit the Justice Department opened a case against doctor and spa owner pushing vitamin C infusions as treatments.

A Texas company also said it could treat the disease with "ozone therapy."

And in Florida, the department moved to block a self-proclaimed church marketing a bleach product, its "Miracle Mineral Solution," as protection.

The latter case surfaced around the same time that US President Donald Trump suggested on national television that injecting the body with disinfectants could help fight the disease -- a suggestion roundly condemned by health experts as extremely dangerous.

"The Department of Justice will take swift action to protect consumers from those who would recklessly exploit this public health crisis by offering phony cure-alls for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19," Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt said in a statement about the Utah case.