Claire Kowalick, Wichita Falls Times Record News
Published 1:29 p.m. CT April 24, 2020 | Updated 3:39 p.m. CT April 24, 2020
The Department of Justice announced Friday that a federal court entered a permanent injunction against a Dallas health center that was offering an “ozone therapy,” saying it would cure COVID-19. (Photo: Contributed logo)
The Department of Justice announced Friday that a federal court entered a permanent injunction against a Dallas health center that was offering an “ozone therapy,” saying it would cure COVID-19.
A civil complaint and court papers filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas allege Purity Health and Wellness Centers and one of the business’ principals, Jean Juanita Allen, fraudulently promoted the ozone therapy, saying it could treat or cure COVID-19. The order was entered by U.S. District Judge Sam A. Lindsay in Dallas.
“The Department of Justice will not stand by and permit the fraudulent promotion of supposed COVID-19 treatments that do no good and that could be harmful,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “We are working with law enforcement and agency partners to stop those who attempt to profit by selling useless products during this pandemic.”
U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas, said the defendant preyed on the public fear of this virus by touting a treatment that has absolutely no effect.
“The Department of Justice will not permit anyone to exploit a pandemic for personal gain,” he said.
Court filings say Allen told a caller, posing as a potential customer, that ozone could be dangerous, but the treatment offered by Purity was safe for even children, would sanitize “anything,” and would eradicate viral or bacterial infections.
The treatment, Allen claimed, increased oxygen in the blood that made it impossible for viruses to manifest and was 95 percent effective – even for someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Allen further claimed a team of “doctors” recommended the ozone steam sauna for COVID-19 patients.
Purity Health & Wellness claimed in Instagram posts that the their treatment was the “only prevention” for COVID-19 and insisted the treatment could “eradicate” the virus.
The center claimed the treatment worked for other deadly diseases including cancer, SARS, and Ebola.
“The FDA will continue to help ensure those who place profits above the public health during the COVID-19 pandemic are stopped,” said Stacy Amin, Food and Drug Administration Chief Counsel. “We are fully committed to working with the Department of Justice to take appropriate action against those jeopardizing the health of Americans with unproven treatments.”
The enforcement action was prosecuted by Trial Attorney Patrick Runkle of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch and Assistant U.S. Attorney Kenneth Coffin of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas. Assistant U.S. Attorney Fabio Leonardi is the COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator for the Northern District of Texas. The case was investigated by the FBI’s Dallas Field Office and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations.
The claims made in the complaint are allegations that the United States would have had to prove if the case had proceeded to trial.
For information about the Department of Justice’s efforts to stop illegal COVID-19-related activity, visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
The public is urged to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or by e-mailing the NCDF at email@example.com.
Claire Kowalick, a senior journalist for the Times Record News, covers local government, military and MSU Texas. If you have a news tip, contact Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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