A federal jury in Reno has started trying to decide whether a prominent Reno doctor accused of trafficking human growth hormone was offering patients an illegal sip of a modern "Fountain of Youth" or was the victim of an overzealous federal regulatory agency.
Lawyers for Dr. James Forsythe maintain that while he was the target of an undercover sting operation in 2004 he twice prescribed the drug to an agent for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat a legitimate health condition.
Federal prosecutors argue the physician sold the drugs illegally for anti-aging purposes, falsifying the diagnosis of a growth hormone deficiency to help cover his tracks.
Forsythe has a patient list that ranges from top casino executives to Nevada first lady Dawn Gibbons and former Governor Kenny Guinn.
The 12-member jury began deliberating in U.S. District Court about 2:30 this afternoon.
Senior Judge Howard McKibben has already dismissed one of two
counts the Justice Department originally brought against Forsythe,
saying there was no evidence he introduced the drugs into interstate commerce from Israel without the required approval.
The remaining charge accuses him of distributing Bio-Tropin as an unapproved treatment for anti-aging. If convicted, he faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.