CORONAVIRUS

Utah Businesses Ordered To Stop Selling Products Claiming Preventative Benefits Against COVID-19

Apr 29, 2020, 10:58 PM | Updated: 11:17 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Two Utah businesses were temporarily ordered to stop selling their silver supplements as federal prosecutors alleged the products were being fraudulently promoted as a way to potentially prevent COVID-19.

The U.S. District Court for the District of Utah issued the temporary restraining order against My Doctor Suggests LLC and GP Silver LLC and their owner, Gordon Pedersen of Cedar Hills, in response to a civil complaint on Wednesday.

“I am concerned that Defendants’ statements regarding COVID-19 encourage consumers to spend money on My Doctor Suggests silver products with the expectation that the products will prevent and/or treat COVID-19,” agents wrote in court documents. “I am further concerned that such statements create a dangerous false sense of security and may lead consumers to forego traditional medical treatment if they experience COVID-19 symptoms and ignore potentially life-saving guidance from public health officials, who advise travel restrictions and social distancing to avoid exposure to the virus.”

U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber said unsubstantiated claims of coronavirus cures and remedies in general are receiving scrutiny from federal investigators.

“I’ve designated a whole team of prosecutors, partnering with federal agents, to look for people who will fraudulently take advantage of this desperate time that we’re in,” Huber said in an interview with KSL Wednesday afternoon. “The message is this — you better be careful with your aggressive statements about these cure-alls, because on our side, we’re going to be very aggressive looking for what you’re doing and hold you accountable to the law.”

In one YouTube video dated Feb. 14 that was included as an exhibit in the federal case, Pedersen explained that while his products were not a “cure” for coronavirus, it could provide benefits against it.

“This new ‘Wuhan virus’ is appearing to be a beta coronavirus, which this (referencing his product) destroyed,” Pedersen said. “Silver works on the beta coronavirus. If the Wuhan version COVID-19 comes out to be a beta coronavirus, I would expect a similar outcome. Is that a good enough way to disclaim that? I don’t want to mislead anybody.”

In another YouTube video dated April 4 that was also listed as an exhibit, Pedersen explained several ways he had used his liquid silver products as a protective “barrier” as he allegedly remained healthy while traveling to Italy and Egypt during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Every morning I would drink two teaspoons of liquid silver,” Pedersen explained.

Pedersen also said he was “putting it everywhere — hands, nose, mouth, skin.” He claimed he could even put it in his eyes, despite his eyes turning red and showing obvious irritation afterward. He also stated he could inhale his liquid silver product through a CPAP machine.

“The Food and Drug Administration needs to put their stamp of approval on something like this,” Huber said.

Multiple sites and pages connected to Pedersen’s businesses appeared Wednesday to have been taken offline.

As of late Wednesday evening, Pedersen had not responded to KSL’s request for comment.

Huber did not rule out potential civil or criminal consequences for anyone making fraudulent claims during the pandemic.

“As the U.S. Attorney, I will use every tool that I have in my toolbox to address those who would unlawfully take advantage of us,” Huber said.

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Utah Businesses Ordered To Stop Selling Products Claiming Preventative Benefits Against COVID-19