Jim Bakker Banned from Selling, Advertising Health Supplement That He Claimed Cures COVID

Missouri TV pastor Jim Bakker is banned from selling and advertising a health supplement called "Silver Solution" that he is accused of claiming it cured COVID-19 on his streaming program, The Jim Bakker Show.

The ban on marketing the product "to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat or cure any disease or illness," is part of a lawsuit settlement after Republican Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt sued Bakker and his Morningside Church Productions Inc. in March 2020 accusing him of false claims. A settlement agreement was filed Tuesday.

According to the lawsuit, Bakker hosted guest Sherrill Sellman on his show and described her as a "naturopathic doctor" and "natural health expert" in February 2020. Sellman said Silver Solution "hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours," the lawsuit said.

Bakker and his Missouri church must pay $156,000 worth of restitution to consumers who paid money for Silver Solution. Schmitt, on Wednesday, said Bakker has paid some consumers but still owes $90,000 worth of restitution.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Televangelist Jim Bakker
Televangelist Jim Bakker and wife Lori Bakker attend the ceremony honoring BeBe Winans and CeCe Winans with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Oct. 20, 2011 in Hollywood, California. Bakker is banned from selling and advertising Silver Solution, a health supplement, as part of a lawsuit that accuses him of claiming it cured COVID-19. Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Missouri court records show that a settlement agreement was filed Tuesday. It calls for refunds to people who paid money or gave contributions to obtain Silver Solution.

Schmitt sought an injunction ordering Bakker to stop selling Silver Solution as a treatment for COVID-19. The lawsuit said Bakker and a guest made the cure claim during 11 episodes in February and March of 2020.

The hour-long Jim Bakker Show is filmed in southwestern Missouri. The consent agreement notes that during the program, Silver Solution was offered to those who agreed to contribute $80 to $125.

Bakker's attorney, former Democratic Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, had previously claimed Bakker was being unfairly targeted "by those who want to crush his ministry and force his Christian television program off the air." Nixon, who served two terms as governor from 2009 to 2017 and is now a partner at the Dowd Bennett law firm in St. Louis, said Bakker did not claim that Silver Solution was a cure for COVID-19.

The lawsuit cited a discussion on the program on Feb. 12, 2020, in which Bakker spoke with Sellman.

"This influenza that is now circling the globe, you're saying that Silver Solution would be effective?" Bakker asks. Sellman, according to the lawsuit, replies: "Well, let's say it hasn't been tested on this strain of the coronavirus, but it has been tested on other strains of the coronavirus and has been able to eliminate it within 12 hours."

According to the lawsuit, Sellman replies it could eliminate other strains of coronavirus.

"Yeah," Bakker said.

"Totally eliminate it, kills it. Deactivates it," Sellman replies, according to the lawsuit.

An email sent to Nixon Wednesday was not immediately returned.

Also in March 2020, U.S. regulators warned Bakker's company and six others to stop selling items using what the government called false claims they could treat the coronavirus or keep people from catching it. Letters sent jointly by the Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission warned the companies that their products for treating COVID-19 were fraudulent, "pose significant risks to patient health and violate federal law."

Nixon said Bakker immediately complied with orders to stop offering Silver Solution on his show and ministry website after receiving the warning letters from the FDA and FTC.

Meanwhile, Arkansas' attorney general filed a lawsuit similar to Missouri's in June 2020. That case is still pending.

Televangelist Jim Bakker
In this March 2, 2018 file photo, Televangelist Jim Bakker, right, walks with his wife Lori Beth Graham after a funeral service at the Billy Graham Library for the Rev. Billy Graham, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Jim Bakker and his southwestern Missouri church will pay restitution of $156,000 to settle a lawsuit that accused the TV pastor of falsely claiming that a health supplement could cure the coronavirus. Chuck Burton/AP Photo