TACOMA — A former Port Angeles naturopathic physician who falsely claimed that two substances containing garlic extract and larch tree starch could treat and prevent COVID-19 has been found guilty of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
The federal jury last week found that Richard Marschall, 68, misbranded the drugs and fraudulently marketed them, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle.
It was Marschall’s third conviction on the federal felony offense following previous prosecutions in 2011 and 2017, when he served two months in prison. His license to practice as a naturopathic physician was revoked in 2018.
Marschall faces up to three years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the current conviction, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Sentencing will likely occur before U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle early next year.
The Food and Drug Administration Office of Criminal Investigations began investigating Marschall anew March 26, 2020, when the coronavirus was gaining traction.
The regulatory agency had received several complaints about Marschall’s Facebook postings about his “Dynamic Duo” product being able to kill viruses, including COVID-19, according to the federal complaint, filed April 29, 2020.
On his Facebook page, which says he is a retired naturopathic doctor, information is posted about “Plant Based powerful Allimed & IAG to prevent or treat viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections,” the complaint said.
Marschall’s Allimax Pro, or Allimed, contains allicin, a garlic extract.
IAG is a trademark for arabinogalactans, a chemical the FDA says is found in high concentrations in larch trees that is used as a food stabilizer or binder.
An undercover FDA special agent texted Marschall regarding his Dynamic Duo treatment and spoke to him on the phone.
Marschall said the treatment contained garlic extract and larch tree starch, and he said allicin “kills the virus,” according to the complaint. He said it would eliminate COVID-19 and other viruses.
On the call with the FDA investigator, Marschall also referred to himself as “Dr. Rick Marschall.”
He said his Dynamic Duo product costs $140. The agent purchased it for $149.50, including shipping.
The agent’s credit card was charged by “Natural Healing Clinic Port Angeles WA,” according to the complaint.
The Allimax Pro was manufactured in Chicago and the IAG arabinogalactans in Rosenberg, Texas, according to the complaint.
Neither manufacturer claims the products can kill COVID-19.
Marschall added labeling that claimed they possessed that attribute, according to the complaint, filed April 29, 2020.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected]