GeneScience, a pharmaceutical company based in Changchun, China, has pleaded guilty to federal charges that it distributed human growth hormone in the US.
The agreement with US prosecutors requires the company to plead guilty to a felony, contribute $3 million into a “Clean Competition Fund” which supports drug-free sports, and pay $7.2 million in criminal fines. The company’s CEO, Lei Jin, was also required to plead guilty. He was sentenced to five years’ probation.
“HGH, when distributed and used unlawfully, poses a serious health threat, particularly to young people who ignore the risks of such substances in an effort to enhance athletic performance,” Peter Neronha told the New York Times. Nerohna is the US district attorney who organized the case against GeneScience.
GeneScience was founded in 1996. It claims to be the most profitable biopharmaceutical company in China. US officials had alleged the company distributed Jintropin, its version of HGH, around the world via the Internet. The company remains in business.
Jin is a Chinese citizen who received a PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry from UCSF. He had previously served as a research scientist at Genentech, a leading supplier of HGH.
Neronha’s case alleged that Jintropin had not been approved by the FDA, and that the company used offshore bank accounts, fake e-mail addresses and a drug trafficking network to distribute large quantities of HGH in the US.
The Clean Competition Fund will be operated by the Rhode Island Community Foundation. It will support antidoping campaigns, clinical research into the long-term effects of HGH and drug screening programs.