Porterville man pleads guilty for misbranding COVID-19 treatment products

Huu Tieu started selling herbal mixtures at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, marketing them as FDA-approved remedies.

A Portervile man pleaded guilty on Tuesday in federal court to selling misbranded drugs to treat COVID-19. 

U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert announced the guilty plea on Wednesday. 


Driving the news: Huu Tieu, 61, pleaded guilty to three counts of introduction of misbranded drugs into interstate commerce. 

  • Tieu was the President and CEO of Golden Sunrise Pharmaceutical Inc. and Golden Sunrise Nutraceutical Inc., which made and sold products marketed to effectively treat a variety of medical conditions. 
  • In March 2020, Tieu started to sell a set of herbal mixtures he called “Emergency D-Virus Plan of Care” as COVID-19 treatment. 
  • That product consisted of a box containing various vials of fGolden Sunrise drug products, including one called “Imunstem,” along with an Emergency D-Virus Plan of Care information sheet. 
  • Tieu mailed the products to practitioners, public officials and others throughout California and elsewhere. 
  • Golden Sunrise’s products claimed they were “uniquely qualified to treat and modify the course of the virus epidemic in China and other countries,” which was false and misleading. 
  • Tieu also falsely claimed that the products had been the first dietary supplement in the United State to be approved as a prescription medicine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat COVID-19. The FDA never approved any product from Golden Sunrise. 

What we’re watching: Tieu is scheduled to be sentenced on June 12 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara McAuliffe. 

  • He faces a maximum of one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. 
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