Canadian doctor charged with distributing HGH
BUFFALO — A Canadian doctor whose high-profile clients have included Tiger Woods and Alex Rodriguez was charged yesterday with bringing unapproved drugs into the United States and unlawfully treating pro athletes.
Dr. Anthony Galea of Toronto, who is known for using a blood-spinning technique designed to speed recovery from injuries, is accused of injecting at least one current NFL player with Actovegin, a calf’s blood derivative, and providing a retired player with human growth hormone after his playing days had ended.
A criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Buffalo charges Galea with smuggling, unlawful distribution of HGH, introducing an unapproved drug into interstate commerce, conspiring to lie to federal agents and conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Galea, who is not authorized to work in the United States, is accused of repeatedly entering the country from 2007 to 2009 to treat professional athletes from Major League Baseball, the NFL and the PGA, US Attorney William Hochul said.
During that time, he billed three football players about $200,000, Hochul said.
“Today’s complaint reveals that those responsible for the flow of illegal drugs into our country can come from all walks of life,’’ Hochul said.
No athletes are identified by name in the government’s criminal complaint or supporting affidavit, which describes the 50-year-old Galea traveling to various US cities to meet with athletes in hotel rooms and their homes.
Galea became the focus of Canadian and US authorities’ attention last September when his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, was stopped at the border in Buffalo with a small quantity of human growth hormone, Actovegin, and vials of “foreign homeopathic drugs.’’
Catalano, who is referred to in court documents only as a cooperating witness, initially told border agents she was on her way to the Buffalo airport to fly to Washington, D.C., to meet Galea for a medical conference.
The affidavit also refers to three unidentified NFL players as witnesses, including one who allegedly received HGH from Galea following his retirement. The two other players said that while they were treated by the doctor, they carefully avoided receiving HGH or other performance-enhancing substances banned by the league.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said league officials had not been told the players’ identities but are in contact with investigators and cooperating.