Feds Go After Company Selling Fake ‘Nano Silver’ COVID Cure
A federal judge ordered Natural Solutions Foundation to stop selling “nano silver,” a product peddled by the New Jersey company as a treatment and potential cure for COVID-19, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on Tuesday.
Natural Solutions along with its trustees — self-named “Vitamin Lawyer” Ralph Fucetola and Rima Laibow, MD — claimed that anyone who took the recommended dose (a cup per day) of nano silver, which reportedly contains particles of silver suspended in liquid, should have “no fear or concern” about SARS-CoV-2.
Laibow, who was trained as a psychiatrist, and the company also came under fire back in 2014 for falsely marketing nano silver as a cure for Ebola.
The order stems from a consent decree related to the settlement of a DOJ complaint against Natural Solutions, Fucetola, and Laibow filed in November 2020 at the behest of the FDA. The lawsuit alleged that promotion and distribution of nano silver violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
“Because there are no published adequate and well-controlled studies for the intended use of [Natural Solutions’] nano silver product to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent COVID-19, qualified experts have not come to the consensus of opinion that the product is effective for such use,” the complaint stated.
As part of the settlement, Natural Solutions will have to recall any previously sold nano silver products and destroy its remaining inventory, on top of discontinuing the sale of the product entirely.
“The FDA will continue to aggressively pursue and hold accountable those who jeopardize public health,” Greg Noonan, acting deputy director of FDA’s Office of Dietary Supplement Programs, said in a statement. “Today’s consent decree demonstrates that we will use all of our authority to stop companies that prey on the public during a global pandemic by selling unapproved new drugs.”
Since the spring of 2020, FDA has cracked down on companies and public figures — like conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and televangelist Jim Bakker — hawking products infused with colloidal silver as COVID-19 treatments.
According to the NIH, orally ingesting colloidal silver has no known health benefits and can lead to serious side effects. The most serious among them is a condition called argyria, an often permanent bluish-gray discoloration of the skin.
After the consent decree was issued, Fucetola and Laibow — who also co-host a podcast called “The Unmasked Crusaders” — created an online posting about the company’s upcoming changes.
“We are pleased to announce that we have now entered into a consent decree resolving that dispute, without any admission of wrong-doing,” Laibow wrote. “In consequence of that consent decree, we may modify some of our procedures and activities, but the Foundation will continue to operate under the protection of the First Amendment.”
Natural Solutions Foundation’s online store no longer offers nano silver, but continues to sell “gold” and “silver” vaccine exemption cards and “sanitary mask directive cards” that reportedly describe why the cardholder doesn’t have to wear a mask under the Americans With Disabilities Act. A single card is being sold for $20.95, and a 10-pack of cards can be bought for a discounted $124.80. The site also sells $97 hemp extract products, e-books, and access to an online “grief relief” program to the tune of $497.
“Marketing unproven products as treatments for COVID-19 endangers public health and violates the law,” Brian Boynton, acting assistant attorney general at DOJ’s Civil Division, said in a statement. “The department will work closely with the FDA to stop anyone attempting to take advantage of the pandemic by selling unapproved, misbranded drugs.”
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