LOS ANGELES – Marking another step in his sustained effort to get dangerous counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals off our streets, City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his office has secured the closure of four stores and a permanent injunction against a family allegedly behind the sale of 13,848 counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals.
“We took action to shut down these stores because counterfeit and misbranded meds can be deadly,” said Feuer. “My office will continue working to hold fake pharmacists to account. Our residents’ health is on the line.”
Defendants in People vs. Dominguez are unlicensed pharmacists who operated four unlicensed pharmacies, three in the City of LA, a fourth in South Gate. Five of the defendants are from the same family - the Dominguez family. Another defendant is the family trust. An additional defendant is a security guard who allegedly participated in their illegal acts. Multiple investigations spanning 16 years by the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT) and private investigators revealed the Dominguez family and their agents sold thousands of counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals – anti-seizure and blood pressure medications, injectable birth control and steroids. They were also found to have stored thousands of illegal pharmaceuticals in the family home in Montebello, which is owned by their trust supported by the illegal proceeds of their pharmaceutical ring.
Three of the businesses - in the Westlake area of the City - have been closed and shuttered, including A&L (or Opcion Natural or Excellent Nutrition) at 1826 James M. Wood Boulevard; New Life Naturals at 708 Hartford Ave.; and Better Naturals at 730 South Alvarado St. #7. The fourth, Los Tres Toros at 12101 Garfield Ave., is in South Gate – outside the City – and has been sold to new owners, marking the second time this office has obtained a judgment outside the City of L.A. because of illegal activities within the City. This is the first case in which the City Attorney has obtained the closure of a business outside Los Angeles.
In 2010, the senior member of the Dominguez family was convicted of selling illegal pharmaceuticals from 1826 James M. Wood Boulevard after a mother and son were hospitalized after receiving injections there. Despite this conviction, the store continued operating and administering illegal injections by defendants who were not licensed to do so.
In addition to the ten-year injunction and court-ordered $105,455 judgment, members of the Dominguez family are prohibited from:
Possessing illegal, misbranded or counterfeit drugs;
Treating or diagnosing people;
Operating or accepting employment in any business in the State of California related to the manufacture, sale, or storage of commonly counterfeited goods.
The City Attorney’s efforts against counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals are part of an ongoing partnership with the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT), which includes members of the Los Angeles County Health Department, the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department. The task force investigates healthcare-related crimes including the manufacture, sale and distribution of illegal, misbranded and counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Many of these products include drugs bearing non-English labels, drugs without lot numbers, warnings or expiration dates and drugs not in original packaging.
In addition to warning consumers about the dangers of buying illegal, counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals from unlicensed pharmacists, City Attorney Feuer provided this list of 25 free and low-cost health clinics to ensure that people have other options for obtaining their medicine.
Supervising City Attorney Kevin Gilligan, of the City Attorney’s Intellectual Property Prosecution Section, successfully secured the injunctions and civil penalties.