Court Prohibits Dallas Health Center from Touting “Ozone Therapy” as a COVID-19 Treatment
A federal court entered a permanent injunction halting a purported “ozone therapy” center in Dallas, Texas, from offering unproven treatments for coronavirus disease (COVID-19), the Department of Justice announced today.
In a civil complaint and accompanying court papers filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, the Department of Justice alleged that the defendants, Purity Health and Wellness Centers and one of the firm’s principals, Jean Juanita Allen, fraudulently promoted so-called ozone therapy as a treatment for COVID-19. The defendants agreed to be bound by a permanent injunction barring them from representing that ozone could be used to 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.”
“This defendant preyed on public fear, peddling bogus treatments that had absolutely no effect against COVID-19,” said U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox for the Northern District of Texas. “As we’ve said in past COVID-19 civil cases: the Department of Justice will not permit anyone to exploit a pandemic for personal gain.”
According to court filings, Allen told a caller posing as a potential customer that although ozone could be dangerous, Purity’s treatment was safe even for children, would sanitize anything, and would eradicate viral or bacterial infections.
The court filings alleged that Allen claimed Purity’s ozone treatments – which she asserted would increase oxygen in the blood, making it impossible for viruses to manifest – were 95 percent effective even for someone who had tested positive for COVID-19. She claimed a team of “doctors” had recommended an “ozone steam sauna” for someone with COVID-19.
On Instagram, Purity Health & Wellness claimed ozone was the “only prevention” for COVID-19 and insisted the treatment could “eradicate” the virus. The center also claimed ozone could combat other deadly diseases, including cancer, SARS, and Ebola.
“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.”
“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.
Additional information about the Consumer Protection Branch and its enforcement efforts may be found at www.justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch. For more information about the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas, visit its website at www.justice.gov/usao-ndtx. For information about the Department of Justice’s efforts to stop illegal COVID-19-related activity, visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus. For the most up-to-date information on COVID-19, consumers may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and WHO websites.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.