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What to Do If You’ve Been Harmed by Any of These Fake COVID-19 Cures

Fraudulent Claims of COVID-19 Cures May Cause Serious Health Effects

The first case of COVID-19 in the USA was reported on January 20, 2020, and by March 13, the World Health Organization declared a pandemic. By August 5th, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported at least 4,748,806 cases and 156,311 deaths. Many con artists are trying to take advantage of people who are afraid of infection or death by promoting fake COVID-19 cures that, at best, don't help and, at worst, may cause serious illness, injury or death.

Utah Man Poses As Medical Doctor to Sell Fake COVID-19 Cure

On July 28, Gordon H. Pedersen of Utah was indicted for pretending to be a medical doctor in order to sell a fraudulent COVID-19 cure. Pedersen was selling silver-based pills as a cure for COVID-19 infections. In his internet scam, Pedersen wore a white lab coat and stethoscope to make himself look authentic as a physician. A company previously owned by Pedersen called My Doctor Suggests issued a guilty plea for false and misleading marketing of ingestible silver products that Pedersen claimed would cure COVID-19. Although the company he worked for pleaded guilty, Pedersen himself faces separate charges in the scheme. The My Doctor Suggests company was also operating without being registered by the Food and Drug Administration. Pedersen's other company, GP Silver LLC, was also named on the indictment.

Sales of Counterfeit Respirators

In the early stage of the COVID-19 pandemic, face masks, respirators, gloves and other personal protective equipment were in short supply. This encouraged some con artists to create and distribute counterfeit N-95 respirators. This is the type of respirator worn by health care professionals. It removes 95% of viruses before they can reach the nasal passages. Look for respirators that are NIOSH-approved. If you're not sure, you can go to the organization’s website and find a list of approved manufacturers. A counterfeit N-95 respirator will give you false confidence that you're protected from COVID-19, but the fake devices aren't efficient at capturing viruses and filtering them from the air you breathe.

Fraudulent Teas, Oils and Tinctures

People looking for a natural way to relieve COVID-19 symptoms or prevent infection may be lured by con artists selling fraudulent teas, essential oils or tinctures that claim to offer a cure or protection. Dozens of fake products have been identified, and the FDA has created a Flickr page with images of those items. Several of them contain colloidal silver, or silver nitrate, which could cause permanent bluish-gray discoloration of your skin. These products can also lead to interactions with antibiotics and thyroid medications. The FDA explains that there is no known use for colloidal silver in the human body. It's not proven to treat any condition.

Dangerous Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers Containing Methanol

People have had a difficult time trying to find hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though some alcohol distilleries and other facilities started making hand sanitizers and liquid soaps, there continues to be a shortage of these products. Some manufacturers have taken shortcuts, and others have simply taken advantage of the situation by manufacturing alcohol-based sanitizers with methanol. Your skin absorbs the methanol, which is a poison to humans. So far, the FDA has identified more than 100 different brands of hand sanitizer that contain methanol instead of ethyl alcohol. Consult the FDA's list of dangerous products to find out if the hand sanitizer you found at a discount store or procured from a reseller is a safe and legitimate product. If you've already used a hand sanitizer on the list of dangerous products, you may benefit from the services of our Allentown personal injury attorney.

Fake COVID-19 Rapid Test Kit

With all the difficulties with accessing COVID-19 tests, many people have had to go without and stay at home under the assumption that they're infected. Without a positive test result and official diagnosis, many people can't get their employers to pay for their two weeks of quarantine off work. This has led people to search for at-home COVID-19 tests. One company was claiming to produce a product called Covid-19 Rapid Test Kit. This was a fraudulent test sold by Medakit Ltd. on its website. The FDA investigated and shut down the site. It's not clear how many people bought the fake test kits. As of August 2020, there are no legitimate COVID-19 test kits that consumers can buy online.

Operation Quack Hack Finds COVID-19 Scams

Operation Quack Hack is an FDA program designed to identify fraudulent COVID-19 cures. So far, Operation Quack Hack has shut down more than 700 websites and sent 90 warning letters to businesses promoting counterfeit, fake and unproven COVID-19 cures. One of the schemes shut down by the Operation Quack Hack was a website with the domain name https://corona-cure.com. It sold a nasal spray claiming to cure COVID-19. The FDA sent a letter demanding that the site be corrected and false claims removed within 48 hours. It wasn't, so the FDA shut it down.

Know Fact from Fiction

Social media is full of misinformation about many things, including ways to prevent or cure COVID-19. If you see medical advice posted on social media, don't trust it. Look for trustworthy sources of medical information, such as your primary care doctor, local health department, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization. Also, keep in mind that knowledge about COVID-19 is rapidly changing. Scientists are still studying the virus, and doctors are still discovering how it affects human health.

Do Your Research First

Before you submit your credit or debit card information or supply your contact details for a supposed cure for COVID-19, do some research first. The FDA explains that there are no known cures or vaccines for COVID-19 as of August 2020. PubMed, an online resource for the National Library of Medicine, offers search tools that you can use to access scientific and medical journal articles on COVID-19 research. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor or call a COVID-19 helpline if someone tries to sell you a cure.

What to Do If You've Already Been Scammed by a Fake COVID-19 Cure

Don't be embarrassed to contact our Allentown personal injury attorney if you've already been scammed by a con artist selling a fake COVID-19 cure. If the cure caused you to become ill or injured, it's important to take steps to protect your rights. Keep all records associated with the purported cure, what you paid, to whom you paid it, how it affected your body and your treatment, and health expenses related to the fake cure. We'll review your situation and determine if you have a personal injury case against the scammer who sold you the false cure. If you've tried one of these fake COVID-19 cures or a different one, it's important to contact an Allentown personal injury attorney for help. At Metzger & Kleiner, our attorneys will listen to your situation if you've been injured or financially scammed by a fraudulent COVID-19 cure. To schedule a consultation, call us at (610) 435-7400, or visit us online to request an appointment.

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