FDA to Star Scientific: Stop unlawfully marketing products

Posted at 12:27 PM, Dec 31, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-31 13:03:30-05

GLEN ALLEN, Va. (WTVR) -- The Food and Drug Administration is warning Glen Allen-based Star Scientific Inc. to stop unlawfully marketing two products.

In a warning letter sent on Dec. 20 , the FDA ordered Star Scientific to make immediate changes to its websites promoting Anatabloc, a dietary supplement, and CigRx, a smoking cessation product.

Both of those products contain anatabine, which is a naturally occurring substance in various plants.

"Although anatabine occurs naturally in certain foods such as cauliflower, eggplant, potatoes, and tomatoes, the mere presence of anatabine in such foods, without any evidence that the foods were promoted for their anatabine content, does not constitute “marketing” of anatabine as a food," the letter reads.

The FDA classifies anatabine a new dietary ingredient, which requires approval from the agency before it can be marketed.

Additionally, the FDA said that Star Scientific's websites promoted Anatabloc and CigRx as drugs by claiming the products could be used to treat diseases. [BONUS: Click here to read the complete letter from the FDA]

"The company is responding to the letter and has already advised the agency that it intends to work cooperatively to resolve these issues, including undertaking a review of the company's websites," according to a post on Star Scientific's website.

This news comes federal investigators have been looking into whether former Star Scientific CEO Jonnie Williams got anything in return from the governor in exchange for the nearly $150,000 worth of gifts and loans McDonnell and his family received from Williams over an 18-month period.

Stay with and CBS 6 News for the latest updates on this developing story.