A Georgia man and his company were ordered by a federal court on Friday to stop selling vitamin D products claiming to treat COVID-19.
Matthew Ryncarz was accused by the federal government of selling an unapproved drug through his company, Fusion Health and Vitality, LLC (also known as Pharm Origins). Ryncarz claimed that his vitamin D products were “immune shots” that could lower a consumer’s risk of contracting COVID-19 by nearly 50%. The drugs were packaged in 2-ounce bottles with droppers, according to a recall notice posted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (Related: The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.)
The Department of Justice said in an August statement that the business had set up a website in March and sold the shots for $19 a bottle. The company was accused of targeting elderly customers with “heavy-handed sales pitches,” such as “The NEXT FIVE MINUTES could save your life” and “Is Your Life Worth $19? Seriously, Is It?”
Ryncarz was charged by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Georgia in August with violating Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. He pleaded guilty to making false claims about the products in September, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“The Department of Justice will not allow individuals to take advantage of consumers during a public health emergency by making unproven claims about unapproved drugs to profit from public panic,” Daniel J. Feith, a deputy assistant attorney general, said over the weekend.
While the impact of vitamin D on COVID-19 has been studied, there is insufficient data to recommend its use. “Further research is needed to determine what role, if any, vitamin D and vitamin D deficiency might play in the prevention of and treatment of COVID-19,” said Dr. William F. Marshall, an infectious disease specialist at the Mayo Clinic.
Don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest health news delivered straight to your inbox.