A New Jersey man who calls himself “the Vitamin Lawyer” and his business partner have been banned from hawking an unproven COVID-19 treatment that they claimed would allow people to have “no fear” about the virus, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Retired lawyer Ralph Fucetola and Dr. Rima Laibow were ordered to recall the treatment and destroy any supplies as part of a settlement that they agreed to Monday, the Justice Department said.
“Marketing unproven products as treatments for COVID-19 endangers public health and violates the law,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton said in a statement.
Prosecutors said the duo distributed a nano silver product through their company, Natural Solutions Foundation, that they claimed “would prevent, treat or cure COVID-19.”
The pair insisted that anyone who took a capsule a day of the bogus treatment should have “no fear or concern” about coronavirus, according to a lawsuit that the Justice Department filed against them in November 2020.
The federal complaint contended that nano silver “is not generally recognized by qualified experts as safe and effective to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19” and the company’s claims “were not supported by credible scientific evidence or studies.”
As part of the settlement, the accused quacks must notify the Food and Drug Administration before distributing any new drugs and allow the agency to inspect their facilities and procedures.
“The FDA will continue to aggressively pursue and hold accountable those who jeopardize public health,” Acting Deputy Director Greg Noonan of the 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.”
Fucetola touted himself on his website as the “Vitamin Lawyer” and claimed to have more than four decades of experience as a consultant to vitamin companies.