Coronavirus: San Diego doc charged with hawking fake ‘miracle cure’ containing hydroxychloroquine

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Doctor charged with hawking fake ‘miracle cure’ for coronavirus containing hydroxychloroquine

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Federal prosecutors have taken issue with claims made by the owner of a San Diego-based medical spa who now faces as many as 20 years in prison for peddling a COVID-19 “miracle cure.”

Dr. Jennings Ryan Staley, 44, has been charged with one count of mail fraud after he claimed falsely his treatment would eliminate the virus "in hours" and even render as many as six weeks immunity to the novel coronavirus, NBC San Diego reported.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Staley, a licensed physician and operator of Skinny Beach Med Spa, is accused of attempting to sell his unproven treatment to an undercover FBI agent. His "COVID-19 treatment packs" reportedly included the controversial antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine; azithromycin, used commonly to treat pink eye; and Xanax, used to manage anxiety.

Staley allegedly told the undercover agent his "preventive and curative" treatment was a "magic bullet" and that he has been smuggling hydroxychloroquine from China by concealing the medication in sweet potato extract, NBC San Diego reported. A "treatment pack" for a family of four cost slightly less than $4,000.

"We will not tolerate COVID-19 fraudsters who try to profit and take advantage of the pandemic fear to cheat, steal and harm others," U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said in a news release announcing the charge against Staley, adding, "Rest assured: those who engage in this despicable conduct will find themselves in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors."

Staley’s arraignment is slated for this afternoon.

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