Irvine businessman pleads guilty to distributing Chinese-made hormone

The president of a Santa Fe Springs company pleaded guilty Monday to illegally distributing human growth hormone, federal authorities said.

David Ji, 50, admitted that his company had distributed a Chinese manufactured drug that contained somatropin -- a human growth hormone product not approved for distribution in the United States.

Ji, a businessman from Irvine, pleaded guilty to one felony count of distributing prescription drugs in interstate commerce without a proper license, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.

His business, DNP international Co., had touted itself as a “global distributor of the finest raw ingredients.” The company was also convicted of felony wholesale distribution of prescription drugs and other charges.

Ji faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine. His company could be fined up to $900,000.

Halting the sales of non-approved drugs prevents “unsafe, ineffective and otherwise harmful drugs from entering the supply chain and reaching consumers,” said Francis W. Allan, a special agent with the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations.

Allan said in a release that the office is committed to investigating “those who endanger the public health by knowingly subverting that system for personal profit.”

This story was reported by Times Staff Writer Robert Faturechi.

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