A Utah man was charged for posing as a doctor and promoting silver-based products as a cure for coronavirus, the Justice Department said on Tuesday. This case is an addition to several such cases where fraudulent medicines and therapies are marketed as "Covid-19 cures."
A federal grand jury in Salt Lake City indicted Gordon H Pedersen for false promotion and selling of ingestible silver-based products as a cure for coronavirus without scientific evidence. Prosecutors said Pedersen began marketing these products early this year after the threat of COVID-19 became serious. They also alleged that Pedersen disguised as a doctor wearing a stethoscope and white lab coat to make his claims look authentic.
Pederson Appeared on YouTube Videos
"In addition to the imposition of a civil restraining order that successfully shut down fraudulent claims of a COVID-19 cure-all, Mr. Pedersen now faces criminal charges for his conduct. The federal felony allegations are serious, especially against the backdrop of this pandemic where Americans are yearning for effective relief. If proven, this conduct reveals a scheme where greed was a higher priority than conveying truth to consumers," Attorney John W. Huber said in a statement.
To further his fraudulent claim on the silver-based products as a coronavirus cure, Pedersen appeared on YouTube videos and podcasts talking about the benefits of silver gels, aerosols, and lozenges. He also reportedly claimed to be a holder of four doctor's degrees. In one podcast show, he claimed that silver can "isolate and eliminate" the virus in a COVID-19 positive patient.
Concerning the case, the Justice Department also said My Doctor Suggests – a company previously co-owned by Pedersen – agreed to plead guilty to one-count criminal information charge for the false promotion of the ingestible silver products.
Several scammers have taken advantage of the pandemic to market and sell fraudulent cures for coronavirus. The Justice Department has been cracking down on such cases and at least eight criminal and civil cases were filed against people who claimed to have a COVID-19 cure.
Stella Immanuel and Hydroxychloroquine
Recently, Stella Immanuel – a Houston-based doctor – claimed that controversial drug hydroxychloroquine cured hundreds of patients who tested positive for COVID-19. "Nobody needs to get sick. This virus has a cure," Immanuel claimed, adding that people do need to wear masks as there was a cure available for the highly infectious disease.
President Donald Trump had been an ardent promoter of hydroxychloroquine saying it helped to cure coronavirus. However, healthcare officials have been apprehensive about the drug. The FDA also claimed that the drug showed no evidence of being a cure-all for coronavirus.