SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, April 29, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — A federal court in Utah has entered an injunction halting the sale of what the Department of Justice has described as “a fraudulent coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment,” the DOJ announced Wednesday.
The temporary restraining order, filed Monday, is against defendants Gordon Pedersen of Cedar Hills, in Utah County, and his companies, My Doctor Suggests LLC and GP Silver LLC.
“The civil complaint alleges that the defendants are fraudulently promoting and selling various silver products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19,” the DOJ-Utah statement says.
“The court’s order temporarily enjoins the defendants from continuing to sell or distribute their silver products for the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease, including COVID-19.”
A separate court order temporarily freezes defendants’ assets in order to preserve the court’s ability to grant effective final relief and to maintain the status quo, the DOJ statement says. A hearing on the government’s request for a preliminary injunction is set for May 12.
“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,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, in the prepared statement.
“We work closely with our partners at the Food and Drug Administration and will move quickly to shut down schemes that promote and sell unlawful products during this pandemic.”
U.S. Attorney John W. Huber, District of Utah, also issued a statement:
“Even in a time of great uncertainty, there are at least two unchanging realities,” he said. “There are those who would unlawfully exploit our vulnerabilities, and there are those who will hold such parties accountable.
“COVID-19 is a dangerous disease, and American consumers must have accurate and reliable information as they make important health decisions.”
The complaint alleges that, beginning in early 2020, the defendants conducted a scheme to defraud consumers throughout the United States, promoting and selling silver products based on fraudulent claims of protection against, and treatment for, COVID-19.
According to the complaint, the defendants have made a wide variety of false and misleading claims touting silver products as a preventative for COVID-19, including that having silver in the bloodstream will “usher” any coronavirus out of the body and that “it has been proven that Alkaline Structured Silver will destroy all forms of viruses, it will protect people from the Coronavirus.”
Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, provided a statement:
“The FDA will continue to help ensure those who place profits above the public health during the COVID-19 pandemic are stopped,” she said in the news release.
“We are fully committed to working with the Department of Justice to take appropriate action against those jeopardizing the health of Americans by offering and distributing products with unproven claims to prevent or treat COVID-19.”
Read the main filing in the case below:2020.04.27 Complaint - Final