Irvine man pleads guilty to human growth hormone case

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A Santa Fe Springs company that bills itself as a “global distributor of the finest raw ingredients” and its president pleaded guilty today to federal charges related to the illegal distribution of human growth hormone.

DNP International Co. Inc. pleaded guilty to a felony charge for the illegal wholesale distribution of a prescription drug and two misdemeanor charges for the unlawful distribution of an unapproved new drug in interstate commerce, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

DNP’s owner, David Ji, 50, of Irvine, pleaded guilty to a felony count of distributing prescription drugs in interstate commerce without the proper license from the state of California.

At his plea hearing before U.S. District Judge George H. King, Ji admitted that his company had distributed an unapproved drug containing somatropin — a human growth hormone product — which had not been authorized for distribution in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration because the version of the drug being distributed by DNP was manufactured in China.

“The FDA drug-approval process is designed to create a closed system for drug distribution in this country,” said Francis W. Allan, acting special agent in charge of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration‘s Office of Criminal Investigations, Los Angeles field office.

“The purpose of this closed system is to prevent unsafe, ineffective and otherwise harmful drugs from entering the supply chain and reaching consumers who otherwise have no way to ensure their quality and efficacy,” he said.

Sentencing is set for Dec. 10. Ji faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, and DNP faces up to five years of probation and a $900,000 fine.

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