Maureen, Bob, Ken, Jonnie and the FDA

anatabloc By Peter Galuszka

Here it is, the New Year, and we’re still facing news about Robert and Maureen McDonnell and Star Scientific  — last year’s biggest political story.

The news is puzzling. It turns out that the dietary supplements Maureen McDonnell was pushing more than two years ago for Jonnie R. Williams Sr., former head of Star, need federal approval as a drug.

The Food and Drug Administration decided a couple of weeks ago that Star was marketing Anatabloc, Star’s prime product, and another anti-smoking substance called CigRx, under questionable circumstances. “Your product Anatabloc is not generally recognized as safe and effective for the above referenced uses,” the FDA wrote. It is also a drug needs approval without which Anatabloc cannot be introduced into interstate commerce without prior FDA approval.

In its Securities & Exchange Commission filings, Star says that its financial survival depends upon Anatabloc sales. It has been selling the product on the Web and through a chain of vitamin stores for more than two years. Star has 15 days in which to respond to the FDA.

This is getting weird and weirder. One wonders why the FDA took so long since Anatabloc was launched for national sales in the summer of 2011 with Maureen McDonnell’s help. She held an Executive Mansion lunch for Williams, who resigned as head of Star just after Christmas. She also traveled to Florida and other locations to pump up Anatabloc.

Another odd question is why Maureen, and by extension her governor husband, were so anxious to push a product that the FDA says is not recognized as safe. It may be a key part of ongoing federal and state corruption probes that may come to a conclusion in the next few weeks with indictments against the First Couple.

Williams had given the McDonnell family more than $165,000  in gifts and loans. McDonnell has given most back and paid back the loans. Outgoing Atty. Gen. Kenneth Cuccinelli, already cleared of corruption, nonetheless got several free bottles of Anatabloc from Williams. One wonders why the scourge of Medicaid cheats somehow doesn’t know what FDA drug approval means.

Williams, of course, has skirted the law in business many times. He’s paid fines for trading and was caught making misleading claims that the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine had given its imprimatur to Anatabloc. What had happened was that a medical researcher with ties to the school was on Star’s payroll and said it was OK.  That’s a bit of a difference.

Anyway, we’ll have to see what the feds do. One also wonders what will happen to calls for tougher state ethics laws. U.S. Sen Tim Kaine, a Democrat, just issued another call for better laws, but it seems that many state legislators from either party aren’t too keen on doing much. They might require that gifts to public officials’ family members me reported by a badly-needed State Ethics Commission isn’t likely.

So there you have it this bright New Year’s Day: more strange doings with Maureen, Bob and Jonnie and a political establishment that wants to forget about it all and keep the status quo.

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4 responses to “Maureen, Bob, Ken, Jonnie and the FDA”

  1. Breckinridge Avatar

    Well, gee, Peter. If Doc William’s magical potion actually worked he wouldn’t need to be buying friends and influence to keep it afloat, would he? It has looked like snake oil to me from the start. As to the slow decision making process at the FDA, why do you think so many of us are concerned about the feds TOTALLY controlling the health care of this country? Hmmm?

  2. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Actually, it takes the FDA many years to clear drugs. I am surprised they didn’t leap in long ago about the marketing. I mean, their hometown newspaper broke the story. Maybe they don’t read the media.

  3. Is it the drug side of the FDA or the food side? There are “substances” available only by prescription that are not regulated as drugs, but as “food substances.”

  4. the FDA rides a fence.

    if the FDA was “too” restrictive – you’d not see any bad drugs on the market or recalls and lawsuits

    the truth is that FDA approves quite a few things that later turn out to be harmful…

    they try to strike a balance.. which is increasingly more difficult in the current partisan environment.

    It won’t be long before we start to see candidates who will promise to get rid of the Department of Education, OSHA, the EPA, the FDA and who knows what else…

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