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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, October 25, 2021

Former Naturopath convicted of trafficking in misbranded drugs he claimed could treat and prevent COVID

Third federal conviction for Port Angeles Naturopath who lost his license in 2018

Tacoma - A former Port Angeles, Washington, naturopathic physician was convicted late last week of a federal felony related to his misbranding of products he claimed could prevent and treat numerous serious diseases, including COVID-19 and MRSA, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Brown.   Richard Marschall, 68, was convicted following a 4-day trial.  The jury found Marschall guilty of Introduction of Misbranded Drugs into Interstate Commerce, his third conviction for the same crime following earlier prosecutions in 2011 and 2017.  Sentencing in front of U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle likely will occur in early 2022.

According to records filed in the case, in late March, 2020, Food and Drug Administration criminal investigators began reviewing complaints from the public about Facebook posts for Marschall’s products.   Investigators reviewed Marschall's Facebook page which included claims that his product the “Dynamic Duo” could “crush” viruses, including the coronavirus.  Marschall billed himself as a retired naturopath and “Health Coach.”  Marschall’s Facebook page also claimed that his products could eliminate MRSA and other infections “even if there is antibiotic resistance.”

On March 30, 2020, an FDA investigator spoke to Marschall on the telephone in an undercover capacity explaining to Marschall that she was worried about COVID-19.  Marschall told the investigator that the “Dynamic Duo” contained garlic extract and larch tree starch, and further represented that one of the substances “doesn’t boost the immune system, it just kills the virus.”  Marschall represented that the second substance would boost the production of white blood cells that attack infections.  The undercover agent ultimately ordered the “Dynamic Duo” for $140 plus shipping. 

On the call with the FDA investigator, Marschall also referred to himself as “Dr. Rick Marschall.” His Facebook posts and other marketing materials for the “Dynamic Duo” also referred to Marschall as “N.D.” and “N.D. retired.” But Marschall did not have a license to practice naturopathy. In 2018, the Washington State Department of Health permanently revoked his credential to practice as a naturopath. 

FDA investigators received Marschall’s “Dynamic Duo” products in early April 2020, along with documents.  The products themselves were not made by Marschall but by other manufacturers.  The manufacturers’ labels for the substances do not claim to kill viruses, but still Marschall included documents that stated the substances can “crush 30 different viral infections, including those in the Corona family, like in China Corona-19.”

The jury found that Marschall misbranded the drugs because his marketing was false or misleading and because his products were not listed with the FDA.

In 2011 and again in 2017, Marschall was convicted and sentenced in federal court for distributing misbranded drugs.  For the current conviction, Marschall faces up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. 

The case was investigated by the FDA Office of Criminal Investigation (FDA-OCI).  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas Manheim, Michelle Jensen, and Brian Werner.

Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Consumer Protection
Health Care Fraud
Contact: 
Press contact for the U.S. Attorney’s Office is Communications Director Emily Langlie at (206) 553-4110 or Emily.Langlie@usdoj.gov.
Updated October 29, 2021