Televangelist ordered by New York attorney general to stop promoting ‘cure’ for coronavirus

Jim Bakker advertises a $125 product on his website 

Danielle Zoellner
New York
Sunday 08 March 2020 17:27 GMT
Coronavirus: Empty supermarket shelves amid panic buying

A Christian televangelist has been ordered by New York's attorney general to stop promoting a "cure" for the coronavirus to the public.

The cease-and-desist letter was sent to the Jim Bakker Show after it had naturopathic doctor Sherrill Sellman as a guest on 12 February.

During the show, the doctor was asked if her $125 "Silver Solution" sold online would work against the coronavirus.

"Let's say it hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus," Ms Sellman said, "but it's been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours."

Mr Bakker went on to promote the Silver Solution on his own website.

Lisa Landau, the chief of the state Attorney General's Health Care Bureau, sent the cease-and-desist letter on 3 March, giving Mr Bakker 10 days to comply or potentially face a $5,000 fine per violation.

"Your show's segment may mislead consumers as to the effectiveness of the Silver Solution product in protecting against the current outbreak," Ms Landau wrote.

"Therefore, any representation on the Jim Bakker Show that its Silver Solution products are effective at combating and/or treating the 2019 novel coronavirus violates New York law," she added.

The World Health Organisation says there is no FDA-approved drug or vaccine currently on the market to help treat or prevent the coronavirus for patients. Researchers are working on a vaccine, but it isn't anticipated for public use for another 18 months to two years at the earliest.

Televangelist Jim Bakker advertised a $125 "cure" for the coronavirus on his show and on his website 

In a statement, Attorney General Letitia James warned the public against believing advertising for products that claim they provide protection against the virus.

"As we experience more cases of coronavirus, it is imperative that New Yorkers remain calm, but stay vigilant," she said.

"In addition to being mindful about our health, we must also beware of unscrupulous actors who attempt to take advantage of this fear and anxiety to scam or deceive consumers. I encourage anyone who believes they are the victim of a scam or predatory action to contact my office and file a complaint," she added.

The televangelist was previously convicted of fraud and served five years in federal prison after his illicit fundraising activities connected with his show Praise The Lord Club.

New York cracking down on false advertising relating to the coronavirus comes after the state declared a state of emergency on Saturday. Positive cases of the coronavirus continue to rise, and Governor Andrew Cuomo confirmed on Sunday there were 105 cases in the state.

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