A licensed nurse practitioner, who also moonlights as a doTerra distributor, has been fined $15,000 for making deceptive COVID-19 marketing claims.

The DOJ filed a civil lawsuit against Eliza Johnson Bacot on January 5th, 2023.

Bacot, along with husband Benton Bacot, reside in Georgia and hold a joint doterra Diamond rank distributorship.

Bacot markets her doTerra business through “The Organic South” branding.

As alleged by the DOJ;

(Bacot) has represented that certain doTERRA essential oil and supplement products (“doTERRA Products”) are effective in preventing or treating Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”).

In one cited January 2022 doTerra Zoom webinar Bacot, who introduced herself as “a nurse practitioner and certified wellness practitioner”, prescribed “COVID positive’ and “COVID Long-Haul Syndrome” doTerra protocols;

We always talk about Lifelong Vitality. The reason why we talk about that is because there are cell repair components in the Alpha CRS.

We also have extra turmeric in there. Omega fatty acids are extremely important for long haul and so that foundational piece cannot be laid aside. That person needs to either start or continue it if they have been on it.

And so think about it this way. We’re continuing some of the same things that we do for COVID-positive, right, because we’re still in an inflammatory state. You heard Dr. Lisa describe that.

The body turns on the cytokine storm and the systems that are supposed to turn it off don’t do that.

And so turmeric is very important. And I would say if your symptoms are severe that you can push that turmeric dose a
little bit higher, remember this, our turmeric is different.

So I have people tell me all the time, Eliza, I got some turmeric from CVS the other day, I’m good. That’s curcumin extract.

The turmeric in the dual chamber capsule has the essential oil along with it in a dual chamber capsule. That increases the bioavailability which basically means what’s available to your cells seven times.

So the good old standard 1,000 milligrams of turmeric is not going to do. You really need those capsules and you need two, and I would say if your weight is greater than 160 pounds, you could go up to three or four per day. Again, we’re trying to reduce that inflammation.

DDR Prime Softgels, these are really important because they have frankincense, lemongrass, summer savory, thyme, all of these things that also help balance the inflammatory system, especially frankincense we know is valuable for that.

And thank goodness for the softgels because when you have long haul, you probably are not feeling like making a veggie cap.

And so it’s really, really easy, those DDR Prime Softgels, we’re recommending two per day to continue that.

Now, one thing I forgot to mention that’s very important, when you’re starting out and you’re really meeting criteria for that long haul, we want you guys to go and do the protocols for acute COVID, if you have not done that, for seven days. Okay?

So go back to what we described above, the things that you need to do for COVID-positive, and do those things for seven
days, almost like a primer to calm the inflammation and then start this.

Two DDR Prime Softgels.  Also continue On Guard Softgels, two of those, very important.

Cinnamon, clove, all of those things are really, really important, and it also has melissa and oregano in there, which we know have been – have had some great studies behind them as far as helping with COVID, post-inflammatory response and viral replication.

We’re also continuing five to ten milligrams of melatonin nightly. We know that those hormonal systems are getting disrupted for people with long-haul COVID syndrome and so really getting their melatonin reset and giving them that.

I had a – one of my clients I was dealing with, sleep was like her biggest issue. She just could not sleep. And it took ten milligrams of melatonin, two Serenity Softgels, two Copaiba Softgels, but that was like her trick and she finally got to sleeping and then she started to improve because the body could repair itself during the sleep phase.

Now, what we’re also going to add in that you won’t see pictured here is Zendocrine Complex. We’re going to do the capsules and the softgels, two of those twice daily, so two in the morning and two in the evening, and that’s both of those, because there is an herbal complex that you need and the essential oil complex.

The essential oil complex and that softgel is very, very important because of the oils in there like tangerine and cilantro, which help the body detox and also repair.

In another cited January 2022 doTerra webinar, Bacot introduced herself as having “have 17 years of experience and also medical and CVICU as a nurse practitioner”.

In the webinar Bacot told viewers she wanted to

empower you with some tools that will empower your body because your body is fully capable of managing and taking care of this disease process.

We just want to see people in a place where they are prepared. So don’t wait to order a lot of these things until the last minute or until you need it because, as you know, if it (COVID-19) hits your house and you’re like hitting click, send, buy, whatever on your supplements, it’s too late.

So you need to have all this stuff stocked in your house ready to go just to make sure that you are fully prepared.

Bacot instructed viewers not to share any information she presented on social media.

Bacot herself however used social media to market doTerra with COVID-19 misinformation.

In late January 2022, Defendant published an Instagram post that included a brief video of her approaching the camera with a basket of doTERRA Products.

The video was superimposed with the text: “When the C[green microbe emoji] hits your house but you aren’t afraid… Because you know it’s about being prepared with the right tools!”

A couple of weeks ago it was our turn to get on the C[green microbe emoji] merry go round.

Since my husband likes to joke that my supplement budget is more than a year of college tuition… he was not complaining when I had allll [sic] the tools to help us recover!…

Here’s what I did for myself and my family to give us that quick turn around by supporting our bodies and immune systems to do the real work!… Onguard softgels 4 daily… DDR prime 2 daily… Turmeric dual chamber capsules 3 daily…

Made sure to take my baseline daily dose of Life Long Vitality pack… 4 PB Assist probiotics… Two copaiba softgels nightly… @symphonyofthecells inflammatory and infectious disease protocol twice daily…

As noted by the DOJ;

At present, there is no published report of any well-controlled human clinical study to substantiate that any of the doTERRA Products referenced above treat, prevent, reduce the risk or severity of, or cure COVID-19; treat, prevent, reduce the risk or severity of, or cure long-haul COVID-19; or counteract inflammation or other purported negative effects of COVID-19 vaccines.

The DOJ brought the case against Bacot forward at the behest of the FTC, who claim Bacot’s conduct violated the FTC Act and COVID-19 Consumer Protection Act.

Rather than defend the DOJ’s lawsuit and prove doTerra’s products had any effect on COVID-19 and associated symptoms, Bacot settled the case on January 23rd.

The Complaint charges that Defendant engaged in unfair or deceptive acts or practices in violation of Section 5(a) of the FTC Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45(a), and disseminated false advertisements in or affecting commerce for the purpose of inducing, or which were likely to induce, the purchase of doTERRA supplements and essential oil products in violation of Section 12 of the FTC Act.

Bacot’s settlement saw her consent to

  • a ban against making COVID-19 claims about doTerra’s products;
  • a ban against making COVID-19 representations about doTerra’s products, unless she had “competent and reliable scientific evidence substantiating that the representation is true”;
  • a ban against making any health-related claims about doTerra’s products, again unless substantiating “competent and reliable scientific evidence” is provided;
  • preserving any underlying and supporting data of any clinical tests presented;
  • representing that doTerra’s products are “scientifically or clinically proven or otherwise established”;
  • payment of a $15,000 civil penalty;
  • submit compliance reports to the FTC for ten years; and
  • record and preserve data pertaining to the same sale of doTerra products, including any consumer complaints and refund requests, for ten years

Following the filing of Bacot’s settlement, the DOJ’s case was terminated later the same day on January 23rd.

For me, the most disturbing part of Bacot’s conduct is her abuse of power as an otherwise respected member of the medical community.

In a September 2018 doTerra marketing video, Bacot claims she gave up on nursing because she “couldn’t watch people die anymore”.

In the video Bacot strongly implies that doTerra essential oils assist warding off “preventable diseases”.

The video was shared on FaceBook by doTerra executive Emily Wright.

Comments from Bacot on the video post suggest she has pushed doTerra’s products onto her patients.

On her FaceBook profile, Bacot cites herself as an “Acute Care Nurse Practitioner at Emory University Hospital”.

Whether Emory University Hospital has subjected Bacot to disciplinary action is unclear.

Eliza Bacot is one of three doTerra COVID-19 fraud defendants targeted by the DOJ and FTC.

Lauren Busch and Dr. Tina Wong are doTerra distributors who also made bogus COVID-19 claims to market doTerra.

Both settled the respective lawsuits brought against them earlier this month.

doTerra was one of ten MLM companies that received COVID-19 warnings from the FTC in 2020.