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Dr. Sherrill Sellman

How a naturopathic doctor doubled down on her deceptive COVID-19 claims and attracted the attention of federal regulators.

Video caption: Dr. Sherrill Sellman billed a March 26 episode of her What Women Must Know podcast as a discussion on “how to virus-proof your body.” The regimen included colloidal silver products offered for sale on her website.

As far as “good mail” goes, a cease-and-desist letter from a state attorney general and a warning letter from the federal government aren’t exactly the kind of missives that make one look forward to checking the mail in the morning.

But as of June 1, Dr. Sherrill Sellman, a naturopathic physician, was the recipient of both for her promotion of colloidal silver — an unproven product that can cause serious side effects including permanent discoloration of the skin — as a way to prevent or even treat the coronavirus.

On March 11, the New York Attorney General’s office ordered Sellman to “immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims” following a guest appearance on the Jim Bakker Show in which she affirmed that the host’s Silver Solution supplement could potentially “eliminate” the coronavirus “within 12 hours.” (Eight days earlier, Bakker received his own cease-and-desist letter from the attorney general. Six weeks after the segment aired on Feb. 12, Bakker announced in a video that he was suspending sales of Silver Solution.)

The attorney general’s letter also advised Sellman to immediately affix the following disclaimer to all colloidal silver products offered for sale on her website:

These products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

Perhaps this got the attention of the FDA, which in a June 1 joint warning letter with the FTC to Sellman cited a number of unapproved drug claims being used to sell colloidal silver products on her website. These claims included the following statements taken from a March 26 episode of Sellman’s What Women Must Know podcast, which she billed as a discussion on “how to virus-proof your body.” (Note: Quotations are presented as they appear in the warning letter. Listen to them all in this shortened clip of the podcast.)

  • “[M]ost viruses, you’re able to give them to other people two to three days before you show any symptoms. And … it’s true with the new one, this coronavirus … what a lot of people do is use this silver prophylactically, meaning as a preventative … “
  • “For a therapeutic … if you feel you’re coming down with something and you really want to hit it hard, you can do … three or four swigs [of your liquid silver product] a day … “
  • “[P]eople are wearing these masks now to protect them from that transmission … let’s talk about how you can use the silver liquid and the silver gel for barriers of protection … “
  • “[T]ake that [silver] gel and dab it around your nostrils … because you breathe in these viruses, it gets transmitted that way … it’s another way to … be more protected … “
  • “Here you have something [silver] that’s been proven on everything it’s been tested … It’s been tested on viruses … It has no side effects, it’s totally safe … there’s no amount that ever has shown to be toxic … “
  • “[E]veryone needs to have the Silver Biotics liquid and the silver gel in their medicine cabinet at home … What we’re talking about today is how to protect yourself from these viruses … particularly this latest one that people are really concerned about, it’s one of the most effective ways to protect yourself and to also use it therapeutically … “

It appears that Sellman has finally got the message. As of this writing, the shop section of her website where she used to sell colloidal silver products is down for the count.

Sellman isn’t the only doctor whose deceptive COVID-19 claims the FDA and FTC has targeted. See the agencies’ full list of warning letters here.

And for more of our coverage on the coronavirus, click here.

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