Chinese Pharmaceutical Company, CEO Plead Guilty in HGH Probe
October 7, 2010
The Associated Press reports, a Chinese company pleaded guilty along with its CEO to smuggling and selling illegal human growth hormone from overseas into the United States and agreed to pay $7.5 million. Lei Jin and his company, GeneScience Pharmaceutical Co., entered the pleas through their lawyers in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I. Jin and GeneScience admitted illegally shipping and selling the muscle-building drug, under the brand name Jintropin, without the required approval from the Food and Drug Administration. The company, based in Changchun, China, was charged in 2007 during a massive crackdown on illegal sports doping in which more than 120 people were arrested and 11.4 million doses of drugs were seized. Federal investigators in New England used wire transfers and e-mails from the company to track shipments and orders from across the world, including in Rhode Island, where the investigation was based. As part of the plea agreement, the company and Jin will forfeit $4.5 million and set up a $3 million fund that will work against doping in sports by providing grants for education and scientific research. The fund will be administered by the Rhode Island Foundation. The money is on top of $2.7 million the company had earlier forfeited in the case. Jin was initially indicted on charges including money laundering and smuggling goods into the United States, but the plea agreement required him to admit only to a single misdemeanor count of introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce. He also received five years probation, and will not be able to sell other drugs to United States customers during that time without the approval of the Secretary of Health and Human Services.