After Four Prosecutions over 16 Years, L.A. City Attorney Forces Fake Pharmacies to Close for Good

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has announced a permanent injunction to shut down four fake pharmacies. Over the last 16 years, their proprietors, the Dominguez family, received multiple citations and made several admissions of guilt. 

According to a notice on the L.A. City Attorney’s website, the Dominguez family allegedly ran a counterfeit drug operation that sold approximately 13,848 counterfeit and misbranded pharmaceuticals, including counterfeit and misbranded versions of anti-seizure and blood pressure medications, injectable birth control and steroids, among others. According to the Los Angeles Superior Court conformed complaint filed against them, the family also dispensed antibiotics without a prescription, and continued to do so even after repeated arrests and convictions in 2003, 2012, and 2015. No-one in the family was or is a licensed pharmacist. 

The scam encompassed three stores in the City of L.A., and one in South Gate. A 2014 search of one of the stores turned up illegal and misbranded medicines hidden in ceiling compartments, in storage containers, and behind wall paintings. The conformed complaint describes repeated instances of stores that were supposed to be closed selling counterfeit and misbranded medication to undercover officers. In 2010 a mother and son were hospitalized after being given an injection of penicillin-eucalyptus at one of the Dominguez family’s stores.

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
  • Administering injections
  • Operating or accepting employment in any business in the State of California related to the manufacture, sale, or storage of commonly counterfeited goods.

L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer explained his office’s motivation for seeking this injunction: “We took action to shut down these stores because counterfeit and misbranded meds can be deadly. My office will continue working to hold fake pharmacists to account. Our residents’ health is on the line.” 

This case is the resolution of sixteen years of investigation by the Health Authority Law Enforcement Task Force (HALT) and private investigators. Supervising City Attorney Kevin Gilligan, of the City Attorney’s Intellectual Property Prosecution Section, successfully secured the injunctions and civil penalties.