SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — A Georgia company falsely claimed a vitamin D product it was selling could lower the risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, federal prosecutors said.
Matthew Ryncarz and his company Fusion Health and Vitality, which operated as Pharm Origins, are accused of saying a product called Immune Shot would lower the risk of getting COVID-19 by 50%, according to federal prosecutors in Savannah. The product “bore false and misleading labeling,” leading to a charge of selling a misbranded drug, prosecutors said in a news release Monday.
The company said in a statement released Monday that it was contacted by federal authorities over statements made on marketing materials for Immune shot, “a Vitamin D product we marketed for a few weeks in March and early April.”
“These marketing statements led to an inquiry by federal authorities who have the important job of protecting against unsafe products and illegal conduct related to the coronavirus pandemic,” the company statement says. “We removed these statements almost immediately after being contacted by the authorities.”
Ryncarz created a website through Pharm Origins in March and began selling ImmuneShot for $19 a bottle, particularly targeting people over 50, prosecutors said.
The website included pitches like, “We are offering you the exclusive price of only $19 per bottle because we know that Immune Shot could be the most important formula in the WORLD right now due to the new pandemic.”
“Our office is committed to ensuring that businesses do not take advantage of a global health crisis and people’s fears in order to unlawfully make a buck,” U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said in the release.
The company had “lengthy discussions” with federal authorities, according to its statement.
“After these long talks, both sides agreed that it is best if the company and its owner resolve this issue in court,” the statement says. “Both sides agreed that some of the marketing statements for Immune Shot caused it to be a ‘misbranded’ drug under the FDA law and rules. The law covering this situation does not require that anyone intended to break the law.”