Snake Oil

City attorney sues ‘wellness’ group over COVID claims

City Attorney Mike Feuer’s office is suing Wellness Matrix Group (WMGR) Director of Business Affairs and co-owner George Todt and CEO Barry Migliorini, alleging unfair, fraudulent and dangerous business practices tied to their at-home tests and numerous disinfectant products. 

In late March, Feuer sent a substantiation letter to WMGR over claims made about its allegedly fake at-home tests. The civil lawsuit seeks to stop the alleged unlawful practices, to obtain full restitution for consumers, and civil penalties.

“It’s inexcusable to try to profit from this pandemic at the expense of people’s health,” Feuer said. 

“We allege these defendants have been doing just that, engaging in a pattern of misrepresentation to boost their sales that includes fabricating a study to help pitch one of their products, claiming to have government approvals they’ve never had, and more. During this health crisis, we’ll continue to be especially vigilant about protecting an anxious public from those who would try to take advantage of them.”

Wellness Matrix Group does business as CoronaStop28, CoronaStopper, CoronaStoppers, StopCorona28 and other related names when selling its at-home COVID-19 serology tests and related COVID-19 disinfectant products, from 2-ounce bottles for personal use to 55-gallon drums intended for large-scale disinfection. 

Todt and Migliorini allegedly made and advertised a number of false claims designed to communicate that they were approved and endorsed by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Environmental Protection Agency and leading scientific experts. 

Under the law, a manufacturer’s at-home medical diagnostic test cannot be sold in California or anywhere else in the nation unless it has FDA approval. Contrary to WMGR’s alleged false claims and advertising, the FDA never approved its at-home test. And to date, the FDA has not approved any at-home serology tests. But Todt and Migliorini continued making these alleged false claims while selling tests in California, including in the city of Los Angeles.

 

Feuer challenging

Trump administration’s Clean Car Standards

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ity Attorney Mike Feuer brings Los Angeles into a nationwide coalition filing a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s final rule rolling back the national Clean Car Standards. 

The previous standards required appropriate and feasible improvements in fuel economy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from passenger cars and light trucks. Since their introduction in 2010, these standards have saved consumers money, reduced harmful emissions, and helped protect the health of communities. 

The Trump administration’s misguided Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient Vehicles (SAFE) rule stops this progress in its tracks, hurting the economy and public health at a time when the country can least afford it. In the lawsuit, the coalition will argue that the final rule unlawfully violates the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy and Conservation Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act.  

“We in Los Angeles must push back against the Trump administration’s anti-science, anti-consumer assault on our environment,” Feuer said. “As we’ve seen during the pandemic, it’s absolutely essential to pay close attention to our scientific experts. Here they’re telling us that unless we put the brakes on the administration’s action, it will needlessly cause more pollution, require drivers to pump more costly gas, and harm our environment at the very moment we need to protect it. It’s telling that even major car companies oppose the administration on this. With the stakes this high, we must win this lawsuit, and I’m confident we will.”

Info: oag.ca.gov/cleancars

 

Supervisors OK

inspector general for skilled nursing homes

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cting on a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and board Chairwoman Kathryn Barger, the Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to appoint—for the first time—an inspector general to oversee skilled nursing facilities, which account for more than half of all deaths from COVID-19 in Los Angeles County. The board also approved bringing in the auditor-controller to ensure closer monitoring of skilled nursing facilities immediately.

The board tasked the inspector general with developing recommendations on how to strengthen oversight for skilled nursing facilities and how to improve their operations long term. Many skilled nursing homes have a history of getting low marks for quality of care, patient satisfaction and employee pay.

“While some skilled nursing homes may be doing their best to respond to COVID-19, we’ve seen hundreds of deaths at these facilities, tragically exposing the urgent need for stronger oversight across the industry,” Ridley-Thomas said. “Now, more than ever, we must act to address any questionable operations and substandard conditions in the facilities that care for some of our most vulnerable residents—the elderly, the low income and the disabled.”

As of May 22, 5,218 residents and 3,140 staff from these facilities have tested positive for the virus.  

Across LA County, 53% of all deaths from COVID-19 have been in institutional settings, particularly in skilled nursing facilities.