Fake coronavirus treatments peddled by 'Jim Bakker Show' denounced by FTC
Jim Bakker's back in the news
The Federal Trade Commission and Food and Drug Administration sent warning letters on Monday to seven companies including "The Jim Bakker Show" for "allegedly selling unapproved products that may violate federal law by making deceptive or scientifically unsupported claims" about treating coronavirus.
The six other companies are Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., N-ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic and Herbal Amy LLC.
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"There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus," FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement. "What we don't need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims. These warning letters are just the first step. We're prepared to take enforcement actions against companies that continue to market this type of scam."
The products included teas, essential oils and colloidal silver, according to the FTC.
Also on Monday, the Department of Justice cautioned businesses against any antitrust actions like price fixing when it comes to protective health equipment like face masks.
"The Department of Justice stands ready to make sure that bad actors do not take advantage of emergency response efforts, healthcare providers, or the American people during this crucial time," Attorney General Bill Barr said in a statement. "I am committed to ensuring that the department’s resources are available to combat any wrongdoing and protect the public."
Amy Weidner of Herbal Amy told FOX Business the following in response to the FTC letter: "First, we are not selling any treatment products. We sell herbs and within the herbal product description I simply quoted an herbalist. That quote has been removed to adhere to the FDA requirements."
"Because it's an all natural herbal product, the FDA does not want me to quote anyone saying anything in the product description that would insinuate that it treats, mitigates or cures any diseases," Weidner said.
Holistic supplement company N-ergetics told FOX Business in an email that the company is aware of the letter and addressed the allegations on its website.
"We sell several products including colloidal silver ... This now over-the-counter supplement has been laboratory, university and doctor tested to kill 650 pathogens in vitro," the company said. "We make no claims of any product for the ability to prevent, treat, or cure human disease. Nothing we offer for sale is intended to mitigate, prevent, treat, diagnose or cure COVID-19 in people."
GuruNanda told FOX Business it had removed "any information related to treatment or prevention of COVID-19" upon becoming aware of the letter.
Jennifer Hickman of Pure Vital Silver told FOX Business she did not know her compay was violating FDA standards and that she has "removed all statements concerning the COVID-19 from my website and social media outlets."
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The FTC said it could "seek a federal court injunction and an order requiring money to be refunded to consumers" if the false claims don't cease. The FTC will continue to monitor the companies, including their social media accounts.
New York Attorney General Letitia James was already going after Christian televangelist Bakker over the issue.
A guest of "The Jim Bakker Show" on Feb. 12, Sherrill Sellman, was asked if the "Silver Solution," sold for $125 on his website, would be effective against the coronavirus.
"Let's say it hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus," Sellman, a naturopathic doctor, is quoted as saying, "but it's been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours."
Bakker served five years of a 45-year sentence for stealing millions from his ministry, The Praise the Lord Club.
FOX Business' inquiries to "The Jim Bakker Show," Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy and Vivify Holistic Clinic were not immediately returned.
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Fox News' Caleb Parke contributed to this report.