A church in Australia was fined for illegally promoting an alleged "miracle" coronavirus remedy that contains a bleach, the Therapeutic Goods Administration said on Wednesday.
The medical regulator said MMS Australia had received 12 fines totaling $ 151,200 ($ 98,000) for advertising its "Miracle Mineral Solution" (MMS), which, according to the TGA, contained a high concentration of sodium chlorite – a chemical known as Textile bleach is used and disinfectant.
MMS Australia is a chapter in the U.S.-based Genesis II Church of Health and Healing, which is subject to an injunction by the U.S. Department of Justice to prevent the sale or distribution of its own version of MMS with the bleach chlorine dioxide.
A website that is said to be linked to the Genesis II Church lists testimonials that claim – without evidence – that MMS can cure everything from Alzheimer's to malaria.
The Australian TGA said it fined the church for "being concerned about the harmful effects that MMS could cause".
"There is no clinical, scientifically recognized evidence that MMS can cure or alleviate any disease," the regulator said.
"Using MMS poses serious health risks and can lead to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and severe dehydration, which in some cases can lead to hospitalization."
MMS Australia is still promoting the products on its website, but said it removed text from the descriptions "to ensure compliance with advertised laws and regulations."
It added that "media lies that our website promotes the drinking of dangerous industrial bleach" led to "ignorance and reprehensibility, harassment (sic) and attacks on our church".
The Church claims on the website that, contrary to TGA's findings, it "does not list or sell any therapeutic good under the law, and any obvious mention or reference to it is unintentional (sic) and accidental".
It is not the first time that MMS Australia has come into the spotlight to sell its supposed "miracle cure".
Four Australians were hospitalized after drinking the solution in 2014, prompting the TGA to issue a public safety warning.
The fine comes weeks after US President Donald Trump was heavily criticized for proposing to treat COVID-19 patients with disinfectants.
The president later tried to go back on his comments, saying he spoke "sarcastic".
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)