SEATTLE — Seattle-based company US Stemology must pay $500,000 in restitution to patients after offering unproven stem cell treatments they claimed could treat serious medical conditions, according to Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson's Office (AG).
The company is also not allowed to advertise, market or receive any payment for the treatments.
Ferguson filed a lawsuit against the company in March, alleging the company claimed the stem cell injections could treat COVID-19, asthma, lupus, Parkinson's disease, congestive heart failure and multiple sclerosis. However, there is no reliable clinical evidence stem cell therapy can treat those conditions, according to the AG's office.
The company was first reported to the AG's office after making claims that stem cell treatments could act as a "personalized vaccine against getting sick with COVID-10," and that a "critically ill" COVID-19 patient got better after receiving stem cell treatments during the early stages of the pandemic.
The company took down the advertising after receiving a cease and desist letter from the AG's office.
While investigating the consumer complaint, the AG's office also discovered the company claimed it could treat dozens of other conditions without evidence that stem cell treatments are effective against them.
The company began marketing that it could treat a multitude of conditions with stem cell treatments as early as 2018. The company's owner, Dr. Tami Meraglia, ran the business in the basement of a med spa that provided mostly cosmetic and aesthetic treatments at the time.
The Seattle Stem Center, owned by US Stemology, performed the unproven treatments on more than 100 patients for a variety of conditions, with some paying up to $10,000.
“Dr. Meraglia and US Stemology advertised stem cells as a life-changing miracle cure that could treat almost anything — even COVID,” Ferguson said. “They preyed on people’s fears and frustrations about their health to sell hundreds of thousands of dollars in unproven treatments. Our work put a stop to US Stemology’s modern-day snake-oil scheme.”