A Utah man admitted in federal court Tuesday to manufacturing pills with the active ingredient in Viagra, but falsely labeling and marketing them as natural supplements.
According to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office District of New Jersey, 55-year-old Robert Zeng of Salt Lake City pleaded guilty to one count of "introducing a misbranded drug into interstate commerce with intent to defraud and mislead consumers" in front of a U.S. District Judge.
Zeng sold what he claimed were natural supplements online with NutopiaUSA, one of multiple companies he owns.
In February 2020, Zeng imported thee kilograms of sildenafil, which is an active ingredient in the prescription erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. He then used it to manufacture a product called "Mr. Richard Rocks."
His unapproved drug was marketed and labeled as a dietary supplement with only natural ingredients, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. The product claimed to treat erectile dysfunction, enhance sexual performance, improve one's mood, and reduce blood sugar and cholesterol.
"The labeling for Mr. Richard Rocks did not disclose the presence of sildenafil, reveal the potentially adverse health consequences that may result from using a product containing sildenafil, nor provide adequate directions for use," the press release stated.
Zeng then sold the product — with no prescription required — on the Nutopia website and on e-commerce platforms to people across the country.
He is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 26 for the charge of felony misbranding that he pleaded guilty to. The maximum penalty is three years in prison, along with a fine of $250,000 or twice the gross monetary gain/loss, whichever is greater.