Inventor of Zicam flu remedy arrested in Calif.

June 2, 2011 - 5:13 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles says the inventor of a cold treatment has been charged with illegally importing and distributing an unapproved herbal product he claimed treated bird flu.

Fifty-seven-year-old Charles B. Hensley, who invented the zinc-based Zicam cold remedy, was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges he imported a product called Vira 38 and distributed it to customers across the U.S.

Prosecutors say he was arrested Wednesday at his home in Redondo Beach.

Hensley faces four misdemeanor counts of introducing an unapproved new drug into interstate commerce, four misdemeanor counts of introduction of a misbranded drug into interstate commerce, and four felony counts of illegally importing an unapproved drug into the U.S.

A call seeking comment was left with a federal public defender assigned to Hensley's case.