Four men are charged in federal court for selling home-brewed hair-growth drugs online.
Two men from Whittier, Calif., are accused of making and selling the drugs, and two men from Orem are accused of taking over the operation after the California men pulled the product off market amid a government investigation, according to the indictment.
Richard Lee and James Dorius, of California, and Min Kim and Alexander Ahn, of Utah, are charged in U.S. District Court for Utah with conspiracy to introduce misbranded drugs into interstate commerce.
Lee formulated his own hair growth treatment, and in 1996 he and Dorius started selling it online through their company Regrowth. But the two never registered the company with the Federal Drug Administration or sought its approval for the products, some containing active pharmaceutical ingredients.
The FDA investigated Regrowth early last year, after which Lee agreed to permanently shut down the operation and send out an urgent drug recall to all customers.
By then, there were almost 58,000 bottles in commerce, according to an FDA drug recall enforcement report.
That was in February 2011. The next month, Kim traveled to California to meet with the former hair growth salesmen. Then in April, Lee delivered all of Regrowth’s products and manufacturing equipment to Orem, and taught Kim and Ahn how to make his products.
Kim and Ahn established Minoxidil Solutions — without FDA approval — to sell the hair growth treatment and agreed to pay Lee and Dorious 50 percent of all the proceeds.
As of Nov. 15, 2011, Ahn had sent two checks totalling $10,000 to Dorius. The next month, Dorius e-mailed Kim and Ahn to “scrub” their computer hard disk drives of any correspondence between them to conceal them from FDA investigators, according to the indictment.