December 17, 2011 (Buffalo, NY) – A well-known sports doctor from Toronto narrowly missed spending time in a U.S. jail. Dr. Anthony Galea, a sports medicine specialist, was arrested following the discovery of human growth hormone (HGH) and Actovegin in the possession of his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, who was stopped at a border crossing by American authorities in 2009. The list of Galea’s patients reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the American sporting world, including the likes of Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes, and Tiger Woods.
On Friday U.S. District Judge Richard Arcara sentenced Galea to a year of supervised release, meaning that he does not have to go to jail. U.S. federal guidelines for such cases suggest 12-18 months in prison, but Arcara claimed to have been moved in his decision by some 123 messages of support for the doctor. These messages from coaches, doctors, patients and others described Galea as ‘a healer who is sensitive and empathetic.’ Others from the sporting world, such as former New York Rangers enforcer, Tie Domi, attended the sentencing hearing to show support for Galea.
Actovegin, a trade name product also known generically as ‘deproteinized hemoderivative of calf blood,’ it is not approved for sale in Canada. Using, selling or importing Actovegin is also illegal in the United States. This product, which is not on the WADA banned product list, has been used by elite cyclists since the late 1990s under the belief that it speeds injury recovery, especially muscle and tendon tears.
HGH is on the banned list of substances both in-and out-of-competition under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)’s List of Prohibited Substances and Methods. Previously, however, it was legal to prescribe HGH in Canada, but it’s uncertain if this is still the case. Under some circumstances it was also legal to prescribe HGH in the USA. Since March 2011 it has been illegal to import or sell Actovegin in Canada according to Wikipedia.
Apart from importing Actovegin and HGH, Dr. Galea also does not have a licence to practice medicine in the U.S.A. There are also issues of tax evasion involved with this case.
Dr. Galea was operating out of the I.S.M Health & Wellness Centre (affiliated with the I.S.M. Cycling Centre) in Toronto during 2009. His patients include or have included Canadian Olympic medalist sprinter Donovan Bailey, U.S. golfer Tiger Woods, and US Olympic medalist swimmer Dara Torres. No professional cyclists have apparently been named among Galea’s patients, but interestingly, the doctor was described as “an avid cyclist” in text posted on the I.S.M. website in 2009.
A profile posted for Dr. Anthony Galea in 2009, but since removed from the I.S.M. site, described him as “An avid cyclist and renowned sports medicine doctor. Dr. Galea is founder and medical director of I.S.M Health & Wellness Centre, an international recognized sports medicine clinic in Toronto, Canada. He is an academic staff of the University of Toronto and has lectured internationally on numerous topics. Dr. Galea has been a sports medicine doctor at the Olympic Games, is the Head Physician for the Toronto Argonauts Football Club and is the sports medicine consultant for many professional athletes in the NFL. NHL and MLB.” But at this point, it is uncertain if Dr Galea is still working with this clinic located at 230 Browns Line in Etobicoke, ON.
New York Daily Times article HERE.