According to the Peninsula Daily News, Port Angeles naturopath Rick Marschall received a two-month prison sentence and a $2,000 fine for illegally prescribing misbranded hormones to his patients. As previously reported by PSM, Marschall pleaded guilty in July to prescribing human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) to patients for weight loss between February 2014 and February 2017.
This sentence comes after a 2011 felony conviction for the same crime. At the time, he received probation. The Department of Health acted after learning in 2013 that Marschall continued to prescribe HCG to patients, some of whom he had never even met. On top of a $10,000 fine, the Department of Health suspended his license, stating in a press release: “Marschall has not had a valid license to practice naturopathy since 2013.”
Peninsula Daily News stated that Washington state’s Department of Health received multiple complaints against Marschall for a period of over 20 years including practicing without a valid license and practicing beyond the scope of his practice. The Department of Justice said that Marschall obtained HCG by lying to pharmacies about the status of his license and his DEA registration number. U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton said Marschall had committed a serious defense and that he had, “tempted fate after a prior conviction.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved HCG for weight loss. HCG requires a restrictive diet of 500 calories per day with the FDA reporting negative effects such as irregular heartbeat, the formation of gallstones, and an electrolyte imbalance that would prevent muscles and nerves from functioning properly.