WASHINGTON — Federal marshals have seized $2.4 million in unapproved medical preparations from the Florida warehouse of one of the nation's largest mail order health firms, the Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.
The FDA said that marshals raided the Fort Lauderdale warehouse of the Robertson-Taylor Co., seizing 114,778 bottles and jars of 24 different medical preparations that did not have FDA approval.
The raid occurred on Feb. 27, but the announcement was withheld while marshals inventoried the seized material, Bruce Brown, an FDA spokesman, said.
Uses Half-Dozen Names
Robertson-Taylor operates under a half-dozen names, but its total operation makes it "the biggest mail order house in the country at what they do, which is unapproved new drugs," Brown said.
The FDA said that the company operates also under the names of Connor Freeman Laboratories, Bio-Technic Laboratories, Intra-Medic Formulations Inc., W. G. Charles Co., J. F. Pharmaceuticals and Customer Service Distribution Center.
It advertises nationally in the broadcast and print media, Brown said, particularly full-page ads in medium-size and small daily newspapers.
Mitch Friedlander, who runs the company, said later that he would contest the seizure order. He said that the active ingredients in many of the drugs already have been approved by the FDA, such as caffeine in a stimulant drug, while others are legal under different sections of the law.
Calls It Vendetta
Friedlander complained of a federal vendetta against his company, saying that it was begun by the Postal Service and is continuing through the FDA, which, he argued, is protecting the interests of the major pharmaceutical companies and the American Medical Assn.
"I have a product that works," he said. "Does the entire weight of the federal government have to come down on me just because I'm not a major drug company and I'm not a member of the AMA?"
The FDA said in a statement that the agency issued a regulatory letter to the company last Nov. 7, informing it that 10 of its nationally advertised products were unapproved new drugs and warning that such products must be approved by the FDA before they can be legally sold.
The FDA is responsible for determining the safety and effectiveness of new drugs. The agency said it has no scientific evidence that any of the disputed products being sold by Robertson-Taylor are safe or effective.
When the company failed to act on the letter, the FDA said, the agency obtained a court order for the seizure.