ALPINE, Texas — “We suspect that our criminal adversaries are getting ready to up their game and move on to different areas of fraud,” Matthew Allen, Homeland Security Investigators (HSI) assistant director, said.
HSI said unauthorized products posing as vaccines will likely come through our large ports like Los Angeles and New York.
“We'll see a whole evolution of different crimes and fraud relating to the vaccinations and treatments,” Steve Francis, HSI Intellectual Property Rights Center director, said.
HSI is one of several law enforcement agencies watching for unregulated COVID-19 products.
Until now, the federal government placed much of the attention on unapproved products like supplements and personal protective equipment. The search for unregulated vaccines expands on those operations.
“We’re working to make sure that when Americans get vaccines, they get genuine vaccines,” Allen said.
Homeland Security, FBI and FDA investigators and agents issued warning letters and injunctions against hundreds of large and small companies.
“We've identified more than 700 fraudulent and unproven medical products related to COVID-19, including nasal sprays, rapid COVID-19 test kits, dietary supplements and other foods, teas, essential oils, tinctures and colloidal silver,” Judy McMeekin, Pharm.D., FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, said on the FDA Insights podcast.
An FDA warning letter shows Mark White Eagle sold five of those products.
“But there's no drugs in it,” White Eagle said.
All of the items, he said, were made of herbs.
“Everyone has what you call a frequency. These different types of frequencies you have to know so you know what will work to get rid of that negative disease. Everyone is different,” White Eagle said.
The FDA-issued warning letter to White Eagle called his COVID-19-related products “unapproved and unauthorized.”
“So, by knowing these frequencies, you're very successful like I am in healing people – 100% of the people get well. It doesn't matter who,” White Eagle said.
The FDA demanded he stop selling the products, and the federal government requested an injunction.
“They took every herb out of his building. It was a big truck full – his herbs, his supplements, his eagle feathers, everything,” Donna Trammel said.
Trammel met White Eagle when she owned a rock store in West Texas. She let him sell his products there.
“The pharmaceutical companies are so jealous of the nature paths and the herbal healers,” Trammel said.
The FDA doesn't regulate dietary and herbal supplements the same as drugs.
Its website shows while a safety study is needed, “a firm does not have to provide FDA with the evidence it relies on.”
“Manufacturers and distributors do not need FDA approval to sell their dietary supplements,” the website shows.
The FDA does regulate the way a supplement is manufactured and distributed. The FDA must be notified about a new dietary supplement and manufacturers must be registered.
FDA requires this information on all dietary supplement packaging:
- Labels must show it’s a supplement
- Acknowledge it’s not FDA approved
- List all ingredients
- List manufacturer
- Show it is "not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease”
“They didn't want me in business whatsoever,” said White Eagle.
White Eagle is one of at least six Texans with a warning letter issued from the FDA regarding a COVID-19 product.
“They allege that I was phony, [that] I was a fraud. But all my people, all the patients, anybody ever comes to me know I am real,” White Eagle said.
The case against White Eagle continues. He has stopped selling his products.
Federal court filings show his attorney and the federal prosecutors are “actively working together to reach a resolution.”
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