U of Louisville sports medicine chief charged with illegal import, distribution of human growth hormone

Laura Dyrda -   Print  | Email

The chief of sports medicine at the University of Louisville School of Medicine faces federal charges of conspiring to obtain and distribute unapproved human growth hormone.

Lonnie Rhea Douglas, MD, was charged Feb. 18 in the Western District of Kentucky with purchasing human growth hormones from a Chinese supplier online without FDA approval. Dr. Rhea allegedly ordered the substance from 2016 to 2019 and had vials of human growth hormone shipped to multiple addresses.

In January 2019, he ordered a shipment of Hygetropin, a human growth hormone, which the Chinese supplier falsely declared was minoxidil, a hair-loss product, in order to evade the law, according to the federal complaint.

"The only uses of FDA-approved hGH drugs that had been authorized by the secretary of HHS were limited to specific diseases in children and adults, and did not include general anti-aging and body-building concerns or activities. The FDA did not approve the use of any hGH drugs imported from China for any purpose, regardless of use authorization by the secretary of HHS," the complaint states.

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