N.C. woman admits selling fraudulent COVID-19 drugs

·2 min read

Jul. 27—A North Carolina woman has pleaded guilty in federal court to selling unapproved COVID-19 remedies — even after the Food and Drug Administration warned her not to.

Diana Daffin, 69, of Charlotte, N.C., pleaded guilty to selling the drugs with the intent to defraud or mislead the FDA, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney's office.

Daffin owned and operated a holistic medicine company called Savvy Holistic Health, doing business as Holistic Healthy Pet, officials said.

In 2020, the FDA learned that Daffin was selling unapproved drugs on her website under the brand name HAMPL, which Daffin claimed were COVID-19 remedies and treatments.

Later that year, the FDA sent Daffin letters warning that various products she was selling — including the HAMPL drugs — "were adulterated, misbranded and unapproved drugs and that she should take immediate action to correct the violation," according to the news release.

Daffin at the time told the agency that she had removed the products from her website and would stop distributing them.

However, authorities said, she continued to distribute the unapproved COVID-19 drugs "and took steps to defraud and mislead the FDA."

"For example, she continued to sell unapproved HAMPL brand drugs by moving them to a password protected website, telling one customer that this was her 'way of evading the FDA,'" officials said.

In February 2021, Daffin sold an undercover law enforcement officer a HAMPL product that she said "could cure, mitigate, treat and prevent COVID-19 in humans," And she told the agent, "This stuff does work for COVID, but FDA shut it down," according to the release.

Daffin later sold and shipped the undercover agent the HAMPL brand drug and other unapproved drugs. The label promised "immunity for humans," officials said.

Daffin will be sentenced on Nov. 2.

The case, which is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's office, was investigated by FDA's Office of Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.