New York, Missouri attorneys general order companies to stop promoting alleged coronavirus cures
March 11, 2020 – Two state attorneys general have ordered a prominent televangelist and other companies to stop peddling alleged coronavirus elixirs.
New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday sent cease and desist orders to the Silver Edge Company and Sherrill Sellman for marketing products, such as “Silver Solution” and “Micro-Particle Colloidal Silver Generator,” as successful treatments and cures for COVID-19. Last week, she sent a cease and desist order to televangelist Jim Bakker, who was also promoting supplements as effective treatments.
“Falsely marketing products as a treatment for a serious disease and charging steep prices is deeply unethical and unlawful,” James said in a statement. “We will continue to go after any company that attempts to deceive the public, especially during this public health crisis.”
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against Bakker, who has offices in the state, for misrepresentations about the effectiveness of “Silver Solution” as a coronavirus treatment.
Bakker was convicted in 1989 on multiple counts of fraud after he stole millions of dollars in a fundraising scandal. He spent five years in prison before returning to TV in 2003.
During a Feb. 12 episode of the “The Jim Bakker Show,” Sellman claimed the so-called Silver Solution was able to eliminate some strains of coronavirus.
Asked if the Silver Solution would be effective against COVID-19, specifically, Sellman replied, “Let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and it has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours.”
According to the World Health Organization, there are no current cures or direct treatments for the novel coronavirus, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there’s no known cure for other coronavirus variants that cause SARS and MERS.
“Your show’s segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak,” the the New York cease-and-desist order against Bakker said. “Any representation on the Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combating and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law.”
The product is available for purchase on the show’s website, and the Federal Trade Commission issued warning letters to Bakker and other companies to stop promoting Silver Solution as a coronavirus treatment.
Schmitt’s lawsuit requests a restraining order and permanent injunction ordering Bakker to stop selling Silver Solution as a virus treatment.
James ordered Silver Edge, Sellman and Bakker to stop promoting the product as a coronavirus cure or treatment, and for Bakker to put a disclaimer on his site that says the product hasn’t been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. James’ office gave all three parties 10 days to show that they complied with the orders, or they’ll face legal action.
Bakker, Silver Edge and Sellman didn’t respond to requests for comment from ABC News.
By Ivan Pereira, ABC News
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