Marketer of vitamin D products enjoined from making COVID-19 claims

A marketer of vitamin D products is subject to a permanent injunction, reflecting ongoing efforts by the federal government to crack down on unsupported claims related to COVID-19.

Josh Long, Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider

January 11, 2021

2 Min Read
Marketer of vitamin D products enjoined from making COVID-19 claims

Editor's note: This article was updated Jan. 13 with comments from the defendant. 

A federal court has permanently barred a company from selling vitamin D products as treatments for COVID-19.

On Jan. 7, U.S. District Court Judge William T. Moore Jr. entered a consent decree of permanent injunction against Matthew Ryncarz and his companies, Fusion Health and Vitality LLC and Fusion Ionz LLC.

The defendants claimed their products would cure, mitigate or treat COVID-19 and other diseases, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in a civil complaint filed Nov. 23 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. While the defendants sold many products online that purportedly contained vitamin D3, such as “Immune Shot,” “Immune Boost” and “Core,” no qualified experts considered them effective or GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for the uses that the products were promoted for, the complaint alleged.

The government alleged the marketers introduced unapproved new drugs into interstate commerce, in violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C). The products also were misbranded because the defendants’ disease-related treatment claims were not supported by any well-controlled clinical studies or other credible evidence, according to the complaint.

"Fusion Health and Vitality no longer sells any Vitamin D products and has not sold any since the middle of 2020," Ryncarz said in an email after this article was first published. "We do not sell anything else related to COVID-19."

He also said the claims targeted by the government referenced "emerging and copious recent scientific data regarding Vitamin D and COVID-19" and were not specific to his products. He nonetheless acknowledged the references violated FDA labeling laws.

After being "contacted by the government," Ryncarz added, "we moved swiftly with counsel to correct any errors by removing products from the market, offering refunds and hiring FDA experts to ensure compliance moving forward."

The case against Ryncarz and his companies reflects ongoing efforts by multiple federal agencies, including FDA, to crack down on unsupported claims that non-FDA-approved products cure, treat or prevent COVID-19.

“The Department of Justice will not allow individuals to take advantage of consumers during a public health emergency by making unproven claims about unapproved drugs to profit from public panic,” Deputy Assistant Attorney General Daniel J. Feith said in a DOJ news release. “We will continue to work closely with the Food and Drug Administration to halt such conduct.”

About the Author(s)

Josh Long

Associate editorial director, Natural Products Insider, Informa Markets Health and Nutrition

Josh Long directs the online news, feature and op-ed coverage at Natural Products Insider, which targets the health and wellness industry. He has been reporting on developments in the dietary supplement industry for over a decade, with a focus on regulatory issues, including at the Food and Drug Administration.

He has moderated and/or presented at industry trade shows, including SupplySide East, SupplySide West, Natural Products Expo West, NBJ Summit and the annual Dietary Supplement Regulatory Summit.

Connect with Josh on LinkedIn and ping him with story ideas at [email protected]

Education and previous experience

Josh majored in journalism and graduated from Arizona State University the same year "Jake the Snake" Plummer led the Sun Devils to the Rose Bowl against the Ohio State Buckeyes. He also holds a J.D. from the University of Wyoming College of Law, was admitted in 2008 to practice law in the state of Colorado and spent a year clerking for a state district court judge.

Over more than a quarter century, he’s written on various topics for newspapers and business-to-business publications – from the Yavapai in Arizona and a controversial plan for a nuclear-waste incinerator in Idaho to nuanced issues, including FDA enforcement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA).

Since the late 1990s, his articles have been published in a variety of media, including but not limited to, the Cape Cod Times (in Massachusetts), Sedona Red Rock News (in Arizona), Denver Post (in Colorado), Casper Star-Tribune (in Wyoming), now-defunct Jackson Hole Guide (in Wyoming), Colorado Lawyer (published by the Colorado Bar Association) and Nutrition Business Journal.

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