LA Man Claims Homemade Drugs May Reverse SARS

LOS ANGELES (CBS) – A Los Angeles man was convicted on Wednesday of illegally selling homemade drugs he claimed would cure diseases like bird flu, tuberculosis and SARS.

Sami Arshak Yanikian, 62, was found guilty on two misdemeanor counts of introducing unapproved drugs into interstate commerce, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Evidence presented during a two-day trial in Los Angeles federal court showed that Yanikian used a website to market products that included “Sam’s Inhaler Spray for Viral Respiratory Infections” and “Sam’s Universal Oral Spray.”

Prosecutors say, the website also claimed that one of the products could reverse pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis and respiratory viral conditions. Yanikian also claimed his product would help a person quit smoking.

In 2005, Yanikian received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration stating that he was marketing a “drug” and making specific claims about his products, even though there was no evidence that they were generally recognized as safe and effective for their labeled uses. The defendant responded to the letter, saying he was only selling the products abroad, but according to prosecutors, he actually sold his products to an undercover agent in Tempe, Arizona.

The federal jury deliberated for less than two hours today before convicting Yanikian. He faces
a maximum penalty of two years in federal prison at sentencing June 6.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


More From CBS Los Angeles

KNX 1070 Newsradio

Listen Live