Virginia Firm Stops Hawking Snake Oil

Virginia Firm Stops Hawking Snake Oil

Before the prosecution rested in the public corruption trial of former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his former NFL Cheerleader wife Maureen last week, the focus shifted to the patent nostrum sold by Jonnie Williams, who is said to have given the couple high-priced gifts in return for promoting his product, a snake oil named Anatabloc. The active ingredient in Anatabloc is Anatabine, an alkaloid derived from tobacco.

Anatabloc was said to “reduce inflammation and support a healthy metabolism” but was marketed as a “dietary supplement” to avoid those pesky clinical trials required of drugs. That didn’t keep the firm from claiming that the stuff can mitigate Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, thyroiditis and traumatic brain injuries. You know, like a drug. Finally, the FDA caught them at it and issued a stern letter.

But the McDonnell trial has increased scrutiny on and skepticism of Anatabloc, so the manufacturer has finally stopped selling it. If you’re a political memorabilia collector, maybe you can still find a jar behind the counter at your local GNC.


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Image parody by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht,

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