ST. LOUIS • A doctor with a clinic in Mexico was sentenced in federal court here Tuesday to 40 months in prison and fined $95,000 for smuggling human growth hormone to a St. Louis County doctor and his patients.
Prosecutors have said that some of the patients receiving HGH from Dr. George Patino, 57, were athletic trainers and professional wrestlers hoping to boost their energy and strength.
From April 2014 to June 2015, they said, Patino sent “numerous” packages of HGH to a St. Louis County doctor, Michael “Ted” Mimlitz, and his patients. Mimlitz was sentenced to probation and a $30,000 fine and agreed to forfeit $59,500 after pleading guilty to one count of distributing misbranded drugs.
The HGH came from a Korean manufacturer not approved to sell the drugs in the U.S., and the dosage and use instructions were in Spanish, not English, prosecutors said. Enhancing athletic performance is also not an approved use of the drug and can expose users to health risks, prosecutors have said.
In June, a federal jury convicted Patino of conspiracy, distributing HGH for unauthorized medical purposes and smuggling after a three-day trial.
In court Tuesday, Assistant U.S. Attorney Andy Lay asked for a longer prison sentence than recommended in guidelines, citing Patino’s five prior convictions, the potential health consequences for patients and the years he spent involved in the “large-scale importation of foreign drugs.”
Patino lawyer Nathan Mays said the doctor should get a break, referring to Patino’s health and the patients in Mexico that rely on him.
Patino, of Texas, told U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey that importation for personal use had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
He denied being a repeat criminal.
Patino, once known online as the “King of Viagra,” was sentenced to three years in jail in 2008 for a conspiracy to sell fake versions of impotence drugs, according to news reports.