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Covid-19 Test Maker Sues Company for Falsely Advertising Kits

April 8, 2020, 9:50 PM

A maker of Covid-19 test kits sued a company in Florida federal court Wednesday for falsely offering to sell its kits to the public for at-home use.

CoronaCide LLC told the court it has no relationship with Wellness Matrix Group Inc. and has never sold kits to it. The group’s false advertising will also damage CoronaCide’s efforts to fight the pandemic, the complaint says.

CoronaCide says its IgG/IgM Rapid Tests detect Covid-19 antibodies in blood samples. The complaint says the FDA authorized it to distribute the kits to health-care practitioners while it waits for a final decision on its Emergency Use Application. The company only markets and sells the kits to medical distribution companies, hospitals, and city and state governments, the complaint says.

According to the complaint, WM Group representative George Todt contacted CoronaCide in February to buy the test kits. CoronaCide said it didn’t respond after learning Todt had been “repeatedly sued for fraud,” including by the SEC.

The test maker said WM Group offers CoronaCide kits on its website “despite the fact that CoronaCide expressly rejected the only purchase order WM Group ever sent.” WM Group’s ads for the kits are “composed almost entirely of text and images taken from CoronaCide’s materials,” the complaint says.

According to the complaint, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform sent a letter to WM Group requesting information about its claims that the CoronaCide tests can be performed “in the home or at the bedside” on March 30. CoronaCide says the tests aren’t meant to be used for at-home testing.

Causes of Action: Federal unfair competition law; Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act.

Relief: Injunctive relief, damages. attorneys’ fees.

Response: WM Group didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys: Fee & Jeffries PA and Smith & Hopen PA represent CoronaCide.

The case is CoronaCide, LLC v. Wellness Matrix Grp., M.D. Fla., No. 8:20-cv-816, complaint filed 4/8/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Blake Brittain in Washington at bbrittain@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com

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