After years of political and religious wrangling, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved stem cell therapies, opening the floodgates for what’s expected to be the next frontier in regenerative healing.
Now, a Las Vegas businessman who says he’s “revolutionizing stem cell therapy” is opening a new venture, despite being on federal probation for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud in connection with an alleged scheme to import and distribute controlled substances and mislabeled drugs.
Balbir Bhogal, who also goes by the name Dr. Bill Singh, was originally indicted on 10 charges in 2010 along with a Wisconsin pharmacist. The indictment also included allegations of trafficking in counterfeit drugs, smuggling and money laundering.
The case was jointly investigated by the FBI, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Homeland Security Investigation’s New York Field Office.
Prosecutors alleged Bhogal and a Wisconsin pharmacist arranged for the manufacture and distribution of counterfeit prescription drugs, including fake Viagra. Without explanation, the charges were dropped by the Justice Department. However, DOJ retained the right to reopen the case, which it did in 2014, resulting in the mail and wire fraud conviction.
Today, Bhogal (or Dr. Singh, as he’s known here) is the Director of the Las Vegas Regenerative Medicine Center, 7470 Dean Martin Drive, #100. The Health Care Qualify and Compliance division of the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services say the facility has no license to perform laboratory work.
Bhogal says he’s done nothing wrong, denies procuring counterfeit drugs and claims he was merely a conduit for obtaining drugs through India.
“There was some problems with a lady in Wisconsin who was running a pharmacy… and that was resolved. A lot of the charges were dropped,” Bhogal told the Current during an interview.
Bhogal is named on the Office of Inspector General’s list of providers excluded from receiving federal insurance reimbursements through Medicaid and Medicare. Bhogal’s sanction is permanent.
Michael VonGnatensky, a single father from Seattle, says he traveled to Las Vegas to attend seminars for potential investors in Bhogal’s stem cell business.
“I was hoping this would help me make some money to help raise my daughters,” he said.
In November, the FDA issued guidelines for the enforcement of stem cell clinics, noting it will focus efforts on the most potentially problematic procedures.
“We’re not going to turn a blind eye to a manufacturer of stem cells for injections into the knee who might be making contaminated cells that put people at risk,” said Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, in an FDA statement.