Don’t believe anyone who says they have a cure for the coronavirus, because there’s none—yet. On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said it has sent warning letters to seven companies, including one run by televangelist Jim Bakker, urging them to stop selling unapproved coronavirus drugs and treatment products.
The products in question include teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver. And the targeted companies are: Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy, Xephyr (doing business as N-Ergetics), GuruNanda, Vivify Holistic Clinic, Herbal Amy and The Jim Bakker Show.
“The FDA considers the sale and promotion of fraudulent Covid-19 products to be a threat to the public health,” FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said in an announcement on Monday. “We have an aggressive surveillance program that routinely monitors online sources for health fraud products, especially during a significant public health issue such as this one.”
“There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus,” Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons said in a statement through FDA. “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims.”
The FDA, an agency under the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, said it has formed a cross-agency task force dedicated to closely monitoring marketplaces for fraudulent and misleading products related to the new coronavirus. With the help of major retailers, the task force has removed more than three dozen online listings of bogus treatment products.
The Jim Bakker Show, the most influential brand among the targeted companies in Monday’s warning, promoted a “silver solution” during an episode on February 12 that guest Sherrill Sellman claimed was able to eliminate some strains of the coronavirus. Asked if the Silver Solution would be effective against the COVID-19 coronavirus, Sellman replied, “Let’s say it hasn’t been tested on this strain of the coronavirus,” Sellman said in the episode when asked if the solution was effective on Covid-19 specifically. “But it’s been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and it has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours.”
Last week, New York Attorney General Letitia James’s office sent a cease-and-desist order to Jim Bakker, ordering him to stop advertising the silver solution a remedy for the coronavirus.
The solution is available for sale on the Jim Bakker Show website. The show and other six companies on FDA’s list have two days to respond to the federal agency’s warning.
There are currently no FDA-approved Covid-19 vaccines or drugs on the market, although several biotech companies are in the process of developing and testing promising drugs.