The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical for allegedly deceptively advertising its $23,000 COVID-19 treatment plan as “FDA accepted.”
Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical is a company based in Porterville, California. The company sells a variety of dietary supplements and claims that these products provide numerous health benefits including curing serious diseases.
The federal consumer protection watchdog also names Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical’s CEO Huu Tieu and Medical Director Stephen Meis as defendants in the case.
In the lawsuit, the FTC noted that the defendants are marketing their dietary supplements through four plans of care: 1) Primary Plan of Care; 2) Emergency D-Virus of Care; 3) Metabolic Plan of Care, 4) Cancer Plan of Care. They claimed that these treatment plans provide consumers with safe and effective treatment for serious diseases.
In March 2020, Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical started marketing its Emergency D-Virus plan as a treatment for COVID-19.
The FTC alleged that the defendants falsely claimed in its advertisements on billboards, websites, and social media that its herbal supplements ImunStem, Aktiffvate, and AnterFeerons are “uniquely qualified to treat and modify the course of the Coronavirus epidemic in CHINA and other countries.”
Additionally, the FTC alleged that the defendants falsely claimed that people who are frequently using one of the supplements included in the Emergency D-Virus treatment plan can expect “disappearance of viral symptoms within two to four days.”
Furthermore, the FTC alleged that the defendants are deceptively marketing their products as treatments for cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and many other serious illnesses.
In reality, the treatments are comprised mainly of different herbs and spices and the defendants’ health claims are unproven. Some of Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical’s treatment plans cost as much as $170,000 to $200,000, according to the Commission.
Moreover, the FTC alleged that the defendants falsely claimed that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reviewed and accepted its products and treatment plans.
In April 2020, the FTC sent a warning letter instructing the company to immediately remove all its false and misleading advertisements that its products can prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19. Despite the warning, the defendants continued deceptively advertising the Emergency D-Virus treatment plan as a “New Covid-19 Treatment.”
In a statement, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection Director Andrew Smith said, “We warned the defendants not to falsely market their product as an effective treatment for COVID-19, but they didn’t stop. As this case makes clear, the FTC is prepared to sue companies that continue to make deceptive health claims about COVID-19 or other serious diseases.”