A Canadian sports doctor has been charged in Toronto with selling what some athletes consider to be a performance-enhancing drug, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Wednesday.
Anthony Michael Galea, 51, of Oakville, Ontario, was charged with selling an unapproved drug, conspiracy to import the drug; conspiracy to export and smuggling goods into Canada.
The investigation got under way last September, when Galea's assistant was taken into custody departing Canada with Actovegin, the RCMP said in a statement that alleged Galea was planning to administer the drug to some of his patients outside Canada.
Actovegin, a derivative of calf's liver blood, is approved for use in some European countries. A report in Clinicaltrials.gov shows that it has been investigated as a possible treatment for nerve damage in diabetics, though it has not been approved for use in the United States.
he RCMP investigators also allege that Galea administered the drugs to patients and conspired to export them to the United States.
On Oct. 15, Canadian officials executed a search warrant on Galea's medical facilities, the Institute of Sports Medicine Health and Wellness Center, resulting in the seizure of unapproved drugs, believed to be Actovegin, from the doctor's office, the RCMP statement said.
Galea is to appear Friday morning at Old City Hall Court in Toronto. One of Galea's patients was Tiger Woods, whom he treated last year after the golfer underwent knee surgery.
In a written statement, Woods' agent Mark Steinberg at IMG said his client received a "widely accepted therapy" from Galea.
Steinberg disputed a New York Times report in which Galea claimed IMG referred Woods to him for treatment.