Food and Drug Administration
Office of Criminal Investigations
U.S. Department of Justice Press Release
For Immediate Release
May 25, 2011
United States Attorney's Office
Northern District of California
Contact: Jack Gillund
Owner of Feng's Holistic Healing Center Sold "Liu Shen Wan" Pills Containing Arsenic and Toxic Toad Venom
SAN FRANCISCO - Edward Feng of 1314 Utah Street, San Francisco, California, was arrested on May 24, 2011, after being charged with introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce, United States Attorney MELINDA HAAG announced. The charges were based on Feng's sale of pills found to contain toxic substances.
According to the criminal complaint, Mr. Feng, 79, is alleged to have sold Liu Shen Wan, also known as "Six God Tablets" or "Six Spirit Pills," as a traditional Chinese remedy for colds, flu, and other ailments from his business, Feng's Holistic Healing Center, also known as China House Clinic. The pills were found to contain arsenic and bufotenine, a Schedule I controlled substance found in toad venom.
An affidavit filed by an agent of the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, states that the investigation followed a complaint to the California Medical Board by a woman who had been given Liu Shen Wan pills by Mr. Feng as a remedy for illness. According to the complaint, shortly after taking the pills, the woman stated that she developed an ear ache and that her hands swelled and became painful. The woman further reported that her hands blistered and the skin began to peel off. The FDA's Forensic Chemistry Center analyzed the pills and found that they contained bufotenine, derived from certain toad venom, and arsenic. An undercover agent went to Feng's clinic and was given similar pills as a remedy for sore throat and other illnesses.
Mr. Feng was arrested at his residence and made his initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco on May 24, 2011. He was released on a $10,000 unsecured bond. The defendant's next scheduled appearance is at 9:30 a.m. on May 27, 2011 for appointment of counsel before United States Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Scott Corley.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of Introducing Into Interstate Commerce Misbranded Drugs with the Intent to Defraud or Mislead, Dispensing Prescription Drugs Without a Valid Prescription, and Failure to Register as a Drug Manufacturer, in violation of 21 U.S.C. §§ 331(a), (k), and (p), and 333(a)(2), is 3 years, and a fine of $100,000. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
Health care professionals and consumers are encouraged to report any adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program. Reports can be made by:
- completing and submitting the report online at www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm; or
- calling (800) 332-1088.
Kirstin M. Ault is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Denise Oki and Elizabeth Garcia. The prosecution is the result of a 16-month investigation by the Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations and the Medical Board of California, Enforcement Division.
Please note, an indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Mr. Feng must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Case #: CR 3-11-70565 EMC
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney's Office's website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
Judges' calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court's website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney's Office should be directed to Jack Gillund at (415) 436-6599 or by email at Jack.Gillund@usdoj.gov.
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