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Feds charge company with falsely claiming drug reduced risk of COVID-19

Feds charge company with falsely claiming drug reduced risk of COVID-19
© Greg Nash

Federal prosecutors have charged a Georgia man with falsely promoting and selling a drug that claims to reduce a user’s risk of contracting COVID-19.

Matthew Ryncarz and his company, Fusion Health and Vitality, which operates under the name Pharm Origins, sold a product called the “Immune Drug,” which was advertised as lowering the risk of COVID-19 infection by 50 percent.

In a release, U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said the drug was misbranded and had “false and misleading labeling,” leading his office to file charges against Ryncarz and his company for violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

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Ryncarz targeted customers age 50 and older online, prosecutors said, selling the product for $19 per bottle with advertisements containing language such as, “Is Your Life Worth $19? Seriously, Is It?” and “The NEXT FIVE MINUTES could save your life.”

Christine said the case is an example of companies engaging in corrupt practices during the 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,” he said in the release. 

Ryncarz and Fusion Health and Vitality said in a statement provided by their attorney that after talks with federal authorities, "both sides agreed that it is best if the company and its owner resolve this issue in court.” 

“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. Both sides agreed that this is a fair resolution to this situation,” they said.

They also said that they will publish additional information soon “to resolve this matter and to let the company continue its important work of providing safe and healthy products to its customers.”

“We appreciate all of our customers. We also appreciate that the federal authorities understood that these mis-steps should not ruin an otherwise valuable business that employs many Americans in these difficult times,” they added.

--This report was updated on Aug. 11 at 9:45 a.m.