A woman from North Carolina has been accused of peddling a fake COVID-19 cure through her holistic health business, WRAL reported.
Despite being warned multiple times by the FDA to stop, Diana Daffin, 68, was arrested in May for violating the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act by selling unapproved COVID-19 remedies over the internet, according to Acting United States Attorney John J. Farley.
According to a press release from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Daffin owns a business called Savvy Holistic Health. In March of 2020, the FDA became aware that Daffin was advertising an unapproved drug under the brand name HAMPL, claiming it to be a COVID-19 treatment.
HAMPL, upon further investigation, is connected to an Australian business called Holistic Animal Remedies, which specializes in veterinary medicine. It is unclear which drug was being used as the supposed COVID-19 cure.
In April of 2020, both Daffin and the Australian manufacturers of the drug received warnings that what they were selling was “adulterated, misbranded, and unapproved.” Daffin told the FDA that she had removed the drug from her website.
The FDA sent Daffin another letter in August, identifying other HAMPL products that were unapproved for consumers. According to the criminal complaint, Daffin had responded and assured the FDA that she would be closing the entire HAMPL line and temporarily halting her website in the meantime.
The complaint then accused Daffin of continuing to sell HAMPL drugs on a new, password-protected website.
An undercover agent had reached out to Daffin by email, who provided the password to the website. The press release stated that emails between the undercover agent and Daffin showed Daffin saying that the HAMPL products “work for COVID, but [the] FDA shut it down.”
In March 2021, the undercover agent, who resided in New Hampshire, received the HAMPL drugs. The complaint showed that the label read, “a stronger immunity against CV” and “Immunity for Humans.”
Daffin was arrested outside of her home on May 11. A magistrate judge in the U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire ruled last week that Daffin could remain free on charges of violating the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act until her hearing, set to take place in August, according to WRAL.
The Federal Trade Commission released a statement in November of 2020 saying that they had sent out hundreds of warning letters to different businesses who were peddling their own COVID-19 treatments. Some of these “cures” were things like wearing gemstone bracelets, water filtration systems, high dose vitamin C IV drips, juices and supplements, stem cell treatments and more.
Newsweek reached out to Homeland Security Investigations and the FDA for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.