Following Media Matters' reporting, US District Court issues temporary restraining order against coronavirus silver scammer

Gordon Pedersen image

A U.S. District Court has issued a temporary restraining order against bogus medical expert Gordon Pedersen for promoting and selling his silver products as a purported treatment and cure against the coronavirus. Media Matters previously documented that Pedersen has been scamming people with false medical claims, and the Department of Justice repeatedly cited that reporting in a court filing.

The Department of Justice announced today that the “U.S. District Court for the District of Utah issued a temporary restraining order against defendants Gordon Pedersen of Cedar Hills, Utah, and his companies, My Doctor Suggests LLC and GP Silver LLC. The civil complaint alleges that the defendants are fraudulently promoting and selling various silver products for the treatment and prevention of COVID-19.” The DOJ added of Pedersen: 

The complaint alleges that, beginning in early 2020, the defendants conducted a scheme to defraud consumers throughout the United States, promoting and selling silver products based on fraudulent claims of protection against, and treatment for, COVID-19.  According to the complaint, the defendants have made a wide variety of false and misleading claims touting silver products as a preventative for COVID-19, including that having silver in the bloodstream will “usher” any coronavirus out of the body and that “it has been proven that Alkaline Structured Silver will destroy all forms of viruses, it will protect people from the Coronavirus.” Additionally, the defendants assert that once in the blood stream, silver nanoparticles can block the virus from attaching to their cells, and thus “prevent[] the disease totally and completely.”

On March 17, Media Matters reported that Pedersen has been fraudulently pushing his silver products as a solution against the coronavirus. The following is a list of some of his prior claims: 

  • In a January 30 YouTube video titled “CORONAVIRUS! How to Protect Yourself and Your Family,” Pedersen said of his alkaline silver: “This might be the most important thing that you purchase maybe in the next few months if you're around people with the coronavirus because here's what happens. The silver destroys the virus that causes the coronavirus. The silver on your hands gives you five hours of protection.” He later said that using his silver means “when the virus does come in your body, it's going to attach to the silver and leave your body. You just never get the sickness.” 

  • In a January 30 YouTube video titled “Coronavirus Best Solution! Hand Sanitizers! Structured Silver Gel from Dr. Gordon Pedersen,” he said he drinks his silver liquid to get it into his “bloodstream circulating around [so] that in case the virus gets into my bloodstream through inhalation or eating foods or my eyes, that [the silver is] going to be in my bloodstream ready to usher it out as soon as it gets into my body.” 

  • Pedersen is the medical director for something called The Silver Health Institute. The organization sent a February 3 press release quoting Pedersen stating that “because the Coronavirus is a virus and it has been proven that Alkaline Structured Silver will destroy all forms of viruses, it will help protect people from the Coronavirus, as well as will help people recover more quickly that are suffering from it.” 

  • Pedersen posted a February 4 YouTube video titled “Best Protection for Coronavirus with Dr Gordon Pedersen” in which he said that “the number one thing I can do is I can put this gel on my hands. Number one thing.” He then put his alkaline silver gel on his face and on the inside of a surgical mask.

  • Pedersen filmed a March 3 Facebook video in which he traveled to Italy and said he’s “traveling … with confidence” because he’s been using his silver products. 

The Daily Beast noted today that “FDA Special Agent Virginia Keys wrote in an affidavit that, according to interviews with Pedersen’s manufacturers and a supplier, business has boomed since January. A company that makes labels for the silver products said they’d received more orders in the past two months than in all of 2019, while another company that fulfills and ships orders said it was receiving $20,000 every two weeks from My Doctor Suggests.” 

Right-wing commentator Wayne Allyn Root has endorsed Pedersen’s products and used his now-defunct Newsmax show to tout them for people concerned about COVID-19. In late March, New York Attorney General Letitia James called on Root “to immediately cease and desist from making misleading claims” regarding Pedersen’s silver products and the coronavirus.