Kvilles Hälsokost och Ekolivs is a Swedish health store located in Gothenburg. According to its Facebook page, it has been around for about 20 years as an independent company. They sell supplements as well as homeopathy and claim that they tailor their supply in accordance with customer requests.
Ionosil colloidal silver is a solution of silver ions and silver nano particles made by the alternative medicine company Ion Silver. It is a fake treatment that claims to be able to cure “cancer, malaria, rheumatism, singles, COPD, TWAR [Taiwan acute respiratory agent], Lyme’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Ebola, psoriasis, [and] norovirus infection” according to an investigation carried out by the Swedish Medical Product Agency.
Why and how was it banned?
The outcome of this investigation was that the Swedish Medical Products Agency banned Ion Silver from selling or marketing the product with such health claims in early June of 2015. The justification provided by the agency was the following (my translation):
The Medical Products Agency holds that the claims that Ionosil or colloidal silver generally can cure diseases risk attracting consumers or patients to buy Ionosil instead of turning to health care system to get a correct treatment.
Selling and marketing with such claims is therefore a health risk.
How does the health store market the product?
Earlier today, they put up a Facebook post about it:
“I lager” means “In stock” in Swedish. Luckily, some critics of colloidal silver was already in the comment section by the time this came to wider skeptical attention. The health store in question even confessed to having stopped selling vegan food, which together with the promotion of quackery, made at least one vegan in the comment section highly irritated.
Their own description in the comment at the top reads as follows (my translation): “Yes, I am stopping with vegan, fresh and frozen vegan food, because that can be found in other shops, there are lots of opinions about Colloidal silver and I won’t debate that. It is controversial. Sell a lot of it. Happy customers”.
How are they getting away with it?
You can still market and sell Ionosil colloidal silver for water purification purposes and this is what the health store attempts to do. In the Facebook post where they let their customers know that Ionosil colloidal silver is back in stock, they do not make any health claims whatsoever. Instead, they post a comment on that post “clarifying” that they are selling it was water purification. But this is most likely done with a wink and a nudge to their customers. They are really selling it as an alternative “treatment” for real diseases. How can we be so sure?
How we know they are really selling it as a medical product?
The cynical alternative medicine proponent will surely ask how we skeptics can be so sure that this Kvilles Hälsokost och Ekolivs health store sells Ionosil colloidal silver as a medical product. Why should we not trust the store when it claims that it merely sells it for “water purification”?
Perhaps the most convincing reason is that they posted a link to an article called “Everything you need to know about colloidal silver” on the Ion Silver company website (webcite) about an hour after they announced that they had the colloidal silver in stock. The website contains a large array of pseudoscientific claims such as the flawed notion that colloidal silver can prevent malaria, can kill all pathogens without any side effects, heal burns faster and even allegedly revert cancer cells to normal. Tellingly, the company even clicked “like” on their own post.
Although the health store claims to be selling colloidal silver only as a water purification treatment, the reality is that they are selling it with a therapeutic intent.
What are the likely consequences for Kvilles Hälsokost och Ekolivs?
Since they are not officially selling it with health claims, they might escape any consequences through the legal loophole. On the other hand, maybe regulatory agencies will perform a more thorough investigation and conclude that they are selling it as a therapeutic product. At any rate, they are starting to irritate local science-minded vegans, which may contribute to their potential future downfall.