A concerned Washingtonian reported US Stemology’s claims to the Attorney General’s Office that it could treat and prevent COVID-19. Apparently the company made these claims for at least three months in the early stages of the pandemic.
The Attorney General’s Office sent a cease and desist letter to US Stemology which made them remove the claims from their website that stem cells are effective against COVID-19.
While investigating the consumer complaint, the Attorney General’s Office found that US Stemology made claims that it could treat dozens of other medical conditions without reliable scientific evidence that stem cell treatments were effective in treating them.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only approved stem cell treatments for some blood disorders, but these procedures use a different cell type than what US Stemology used.
The clinic and it’s owner, Dr. Tami Meraglia, promoted their unproven stem cell treatments as part of a “clinical trial.” Instead of paying patients to participate in a trial, like most legitimate trials do, US Stemology charged patients thousands of dollars to undergo experimental treatments.
Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s lawsuit asserts that US Stemology and Meraglia’s unfounded claims are unfair and deceptive business practices in violation of the Washington Consumer Protection Act.
The lawsuit asks the court to require US Stemology to:
- Stop its unlawful conduct, including all unsubstantiated claims about stem cells
- Pay full restitution back to patients who paid for treatments at the Seattle Stem Cell Center, a total of at least $748,250
- Pay $12,500 total in civil penalties for each violation of the Consumer Protection Act, including enhanced civil penalties of $5,000 per violation because US Stemology’s misleading claims targeted people with disabilities. The Attorney General’s Office estimates that the penalties in this case could total in the millions of dollars.
Assistant Attorneys General Daniel Davies and Logan Starr, investigators Anton Forbes and Eric Peters, paralegal Rosa Hernandez and legal assistant Michelle Paules are working on the case.