AG issues cease-and-desist to W MI business over COVID-19 prevention claims

Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Michigan Attorney General’s Office is telling a West Michigan weight loss business to stop saying that its injections can help keep people from getting COVID-19.

Stephanie Davison of Skin Envy made the claims during a paid segment on eightWest, a lifestyle program that airs on WOOD TV8. Davison suggested that sermorelin injections, which are meant to speed up the metabolism, could also strengthen the immune system and stop someone from getting COVID-19:

“(It) boosts the immune system, which is very imperative,” Davison said. “I mean, again, I didn’t, I, almost all of my friends got Covid-19. I never, I never did. So, I’m thankful and now I’ve been vaccinated so I will not get it ever now. So I’m so grateful and I’ve had people tell me in the medical field that it is probably due to the ipamorelin/sermorelin.”

There is no evidence to show that’s true, experts say. The Attorney General’s Office also noted that neither Davison nor Skin Envy’s website mentioned possible side effects of the injections.

“It’s a dangerous set of circumstances,” Attorney General Dana Nessel told News 8 in a video call Tuesday. “there is only one way to prevent COVID-19 from spreading to you and your family members, and that’s through three different types of vaccinations that have been authorized by the (Food and Drug Administration). And of course, those products are free, unlike the products Ms. Davison is selling.”

In response, the AG on Monday sent Davison and Skin Envy a cease-and-desist letter (PDF), saying the business is misrepresenting its product and not providing customers with all the relevant facts.

“It appears you are attempting to profit from the Covid-19 pandemic by exaggerating the benefits of sermorelin and indeed even suggesting that sermorelin prevents Covid-19 infection in the same way that vaccination prevents infection,” the letter reads in part. “We have received a complaint from a consumer expressing concerns about your statement and describing it as ‘quite predatory and awful.’ At this time, there is no support for your claim that sermorelin prevents Covid-19.”

The letter grants Skin Envy 10 days to publicly retract its claims.

Davison was on TLC’s “90 Day Fiance.” In a tweet Tuesday, Nessel suggested it was a bad idea to take medical advice from someone who starred in a reality show.

“Ms. Davison doesn’t have 90 days like she did to marry her fiance,” Nessel told News 8. “She only has 10 days to respond to our department’s cease-and-desist order.”

“There are proven, scientific methods to prevent COVID-19,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan’s chief medical executive, stated in a Tuesday release from the AG’s Office. “We urge Michigan residents to get the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine. Wearing masks, washing hands frequently and avoiding indoor gatherings are other ways to prevent COVID-19. Michiganders should be suspicious of claims that products such as sermorelin can prevent them from getting COVID-19.” 

The AG’s Office said it started investigating Davison after getting a complaint about the eightWest segment.

The eightWest segment where she made the claims has been removed from woodtv.com.

On Tuesday, News 8 attempted to reach Davison at her business and by phone asking for comment. She reached out to the station’s general manager and said she did not want to talk with the news department and wants to deal with the Attorney General’s Office directly.

*Editor’s Note: The WOOD TV8 news department operates separately from the eightWest department. No one from eightWest was involved in producing this report.

—News 8 reporter Donovan Long contributed to this report.

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