Doctor charged in doping case

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Doctor charged in doping case

OTTAWA - A Canadian doctor who treated Tiger Woods last year after knee surgery was charged on Wednesday with trafficking an unapproved drug.

Anthony Galea, 50, faces four charges of conspiring to import and export Actovegin, selling the drug and smuggling quantities of it into Canada, federal police said. Galea was arrested in Toronto on Oct. 15 by Canadian police just a month after his assistant was stopped at the U.S.-Canada border with human growth hormone and Actovegin in her car.

It is illegal to sell Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf’s blood, in Canada or the United States; however, it is available and approved for sale in some European countries. Galea is reportedly suspected of providing prominent American and Canadian athletes with performance-enhancing drugs and faces probes in the United States and Canada.

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said in a statement Galea “is alleged to have conspired to export these drugs to the United States.”

Authorities also believe “that it was Galea’s intent to treat some of his patients outside Canada with Actovegin,” the RCMP said.

Galea, who is to appear in court on Friday in Toronto to face the charges, denied any wrongdoing through his lawyer at a press conference on Tuesday. According to its maker, Actovegin produces an “insulin-like effect” and boosts oxygen in cells and is intended to treat circulatory disorders. Galea’s lawyer, Brian Greenspan, told reporters he never prescribed Actovegin or human growth hormones to competing athletes.

Rather, he claimed to use the human growth hormones on himself and in his general practice to extend lives. Galea has treated hundreds of athletes, including troubled golf superstar Woods during his 2008 rehabilitation from knee surgery. Galea’s other sporting patients included U.S. Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, Olympic runner Donovan Bailey and American football quarterback Chris Simms. The RCMP said its joint investigation with the FBI started in September 2009. AFP

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