A so-called wellness center in Dallas, Texas, was hit with a permanent injunction for offering ozone therapy as a treatment for COVID-19, the respiratory infection caused by the coronavirus.
The U.S. Justice Department filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against Purity Health and Wellness Centers and one of its principals, Jean Juanita Allen, for fraudulently promoting the unproven COVID-19 treatment.
Ozone therapy is an alternative therapy that claims to improve the body’s intake and use of oxygen to activate the immune system. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) called ozone therapy a “toxic gas with no known useful medical application in specific, adjunctive, or preventative therapy.” The agency further states that, “in order for ozone to be effective as a germicide, it must be present in a concentration far greater than that which can be safely tolerated by man and animals.”
Allen allegedly told a caller posing as a potential customer that her firm’s ozone therapy was safer than similar treatments and that it was capable of eradicating viral or bacterial infections. The therapy, she explained, would increase oxygen in the blood making it impossible for the virus to manifest. She also allegedly claimed that the treatment was 95% effective even for someone who had tested positive for COVID-19, according to the complaint. Furthermore, Purity Health & Wellness posted on Instagram that ozone therapy was the “only prevention” for COVID-19.
The center also claimed that ozone therapy was successful at treating other deadly diseases, including cancer, SARS, and Ebola.
“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.”
“We will not allow anyone to illegally profit by exploiting the fear and anxiety related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said FBI Dallas Special Agent in Charge Matthew J. DeSarno. “The FBI and our partners are working together every day to prevent, detect, and dismantle COVID-19 fraud.”