Doctor Sold Fake 'Miracle Cures' for Nearly $750K: Lawsuit

A Seattle doctor is accused of selling fake "miracle cures" for nearly $750,000 to treat COVID-19 and other medical ailments, according to a new lawsuit.

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Seattle-based US Stemology and its owner, Dr. Tami Meraglia. The lawsuit alleges that Meraglia told patients that stem cell treatment could cure COVID-19, asthma, lupus, Parkinson's, congestive heart failure and multiple sclerosis.

According to a press release announcing the lawsuit, US Stemology charged a total of $748,250 from 107 patients for unproven stem cell treatments.

"Dr. Meraglia and US Stemology advertised stem cells as a life-changing miracle cure that could treat almost anything — even COVID," Ferguson said in a press release announcing the lawsuit.

"They preyed on people's fears and frustrations about their health to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars in unproven treatments. Their conduct brings to mind a 21st century version of snake-oil sales tactics."

The lawsuit comes as cases of COVID-19 have dropped across the nation as more Americans have been vaccinated.

According to the press release, Ferguson's office first became aware of the stem cell treatments after a "concerned Washingtonian," alerted that US Stemology was making false claims about its ability to treat COVID-19 in the early stages of the pandemic.

Ferguson said that an ad from the company told patients that stem cell treatments helped those who were" "critically ill" with the novel coronavirus. US Stemology also issued an advertisement referring to stem cell treatment as "your personalized 'vaccine' against getting sick with COVID-19," Ferguson's office said.

"The reason for this is because stem cell therapy treats the lungs first and has long term anti-inflammatory and immune modulating properties," a guide from the US Stemology website said.

The lawsuit states that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of stem cell treatments only for blood disorders and the FDA said that stem cell treatments that are not approved by the agency "pose serious safety risks."

According to Ferguson, Meraglia would tell patents that they needed to pay to participate in a "clinical trial," using stem cells.

"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. In addition, the 'trial' the company ran was marred by conflict of interest and shoddy scientific practices," the press release said.

Newsweek reached out to US Stemology for comment on the recent lawsuit but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Earlier this year, Ferguson's office filed a similar lawsuit against a COVID-19 testing company, accusing it of "providing invalid, false and delayed COVID-19 test results to Washingtonians, or sometimes providing no results at all."

Stem Cells
A Seattle-based doctor was recently sued by the Washington state attorney general for allegedly offering unproven stem cell treatments for COVID-19 and other medical ailments. Above, stem cell cultures at a lab at the University of California Irvine on August 25, 2006. Sandy Huffaker/Getty