ST. LOUIS COUNTY (AP) — A Missouri chiropractor and his company are facing a federal complaint over their claims that zinc and vitamin D products were more effective than vaccines in treating or preventing COVID-19.
The Federal Trade Commission said Thursday that it had filed a complaint seeking to block further sales by Eric Anthony Nepute and his company, Quickwork LLC, which does business as Wellness Warrior at several locations in St. Louis County.
It is the first action brought by the FTC under a new COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act, which makes it illegal “to engage in a deceptive act or practice that is associated with ‘the treatment, cure, prevention, mitigation, or diagnosis of COVID-19,’” the agency said.
A call to Nepute’s business seeking comment on Friday was not immediately returned.
Nepute continues to make the false claims despite earlier warnings to stop, said the commission. He and his company could face civil penalties.
The claims made by Nepute and his company exploit fears about the pandemic and pose a “significant risk to public health and safety,” the commission said.
Nepute promoted his bogus health claims in video monologues on social media that have been viewed millions of times, the FTC said. Other videos by Nepute claim that masks can be harmful and that coronavirus death statistics have been inflated.
When Facebook shut down his page in February, Nepute created a new page and website and reposted his videos, according to the complaint.
In April 2020, the Missouri State Board of Chiropractic Examiners sued Nepute in St. Louis County Circuit Court, saying he was falsely claiming to be a doctor and was promoting tonic water and zinc as a preventative or cure for COVID-19. The board dismissed the suit two weeks later.