Man Arrested for Selling Water as AIDS Remedy
A self-described "independent physicist/scientist" was arrested Friday near Los Angeles by FDA investigators for selling bottles of water, touted as an AIDS therapy, over the Internet, the Los Angeles Times/Contra Costa Times reports. Steven Tondre sold 16 oz. bottles of "EXP," which contained a label reading, "Warning: Continued use of this product may cause doctors to become an endangered species," for $50 each on his Web site, called "The Expediter." FDA officials began their investigation in 1999 after an investigator first logged on to the site, which claimed that the product worked through "enhanced oxygenization." Although Tondre claimed the treatment was "not a 'cure' for HIV or AIDS," he said that the product had been shown to "remove all signs of the virus from the body." FDA investigators bought several bottles of EXP through the site and tracked Tondre to a post office where he allegedly shipped the product. An FDA analysis of EXP showed that the liquid, also purported to be "effective in slowing, stopping and even reversing the ravages of aging," was water. Tondre was charged with two counts of "selling a misbranded or unapproved drug intending to defraud or mislead," and a Los Angeles federal magistrate ordered him released on $50,000 bail, pending a Feb. 26 arraignment (Rosenzweig, Contra Costa Times, 2/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.