The Korea Herald


Med school professor convicted for fake COVID-19 'vaccine card'

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : April 29, 2024 - 17:00

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A medical professor was recently handed a suspended prison term for making and distributing cards, falsely claiming that they would function as a vaccine to prevent and even cure COVID-19.

Seoul Central District Court sentenced the defendant surnamed Kim to eight months in prison, suspended for two years, for violating the Medical Devices Act.

"It was necessary to punish (the defendant) as his actions presented risks for the public health, endangering the people's lives and safety," the court said in its ruling.

The defendant provided the supposed vaccine card for those who bought his book between November of 2020 and April of 2022. He falsely claimed that the card could "prevent COVID-19 and easily allow the infected to recover," and that the card was registered as an over-the-counter drug by the US Food and Drug Administration.

Kim even applied for a patent for the card, saying that it "digitalized the 3-D waves of the COVID-19 cure."

The vaccine card had not been authorized by the food and drug safety authorities of either the US or South Korea.

Selling, lending, or giving away unauthorized medical devices can be punished by up to five years in prison or a fine of up to 50 million won ($36,000).

Kim claimed during the trial that the vaccine card was not a medical device, but the court said that it had been promoted as one in the descriptions on the card. It pointed out that Kim wrote in his patent application that the card can treat COVID-19 and boost the user's immune system.

This was not the first time Kim has been convicted for violating the Medical Device Act. He was fined 20 million won in 2010 for selling his invention "life water," which he claimed had cancer treatment effects.