The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission announced Monday it has issued warning letters to televangelist Jim Bakker and six other companies selling fraudulent products that claim to treat or prevent coronavirus.
The products at the center of the warning letters include teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver. The FDA noted it has previously warning that colloidal silver isn't safe or effective for treating any disease.
In a statement, FDA Commissioner Stephen M. Hahn said the FDA considers the sale of fraudulent COVID-19 products to be a "threat to the public health." The agency said it was particularly concerned that products claiming to cure, treat or prevent serious diseases may cause people to delay or stop getting treatment.
As of Monday morning, the U.S. death toll from coronavirus has reached at least 21 and the number of cases worldwide have soared above 110,000.
The FDA and FTC sent the warning letters to The Jim Bakker Show, Vital Silver, Quinessence Aromatherapy Ltd., Xephyr, LLC doing business as N-Ergetics, GuruNanda, LLC, Vivify Holistic Clinic and Herbal Amy LLC.
The New York Attorney General sent a cease-and-desist order last week to televangelist Jim Bakker to stop promoting "Silver Solution" as a coronavirus treatment.
There are currently no vaccines or drugs approved to treat or prevent COVID-19.
As part of Monday's announcement, FTC Chairman Joe Simons said the warning letters are just the first step in actions they're prepared to take against companies that "continue to market this type of scam."
"There already is a high level of anxiety over the potential spread of coronavirus,” Simons said. “What we don’t need in this situation are companies preying on consumers by promoting products with fraudulent prevention and treatment claims.