An attorney for Anthony Galea — the Toronto physician who in 2011 was sentenced to a year of supervised release by a Buffalo federal judge after pleading guilty to transporting unapproved and misbranded drugs across the border — says that the punishment for his client that is being suggested by a Canadian regulatory body is both “unprecedented and draconian.”
Galea, who has treated such professional athletes as Alex Rodriguez, Tiger Woods and Jose Reyes and who was at the center of a performance-enhancing drug scandal in 2010-11, awaits his fate from a five-person panel after his penalty hearing concluded last week at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO). In October, the CPSO, a regulatory body for the medical professionals in Ontario, announced that its discipline committee found Galea had “committed an act of professional misconduct.”
During the penalty hearing last week, Galea’s attorney Brian Greenspan said that the college’s counsel who handles disciplinary matters, Carolyn Silver, stated that the CPSO’s position is to have Galea’s medical license revoked.
“Silver was putting forward the college’s position, asking for revocation in her opening (statement). Those comments were made before any evidence was called. I said in my opening what was being asked for was both unprecedented and draconian,” Greenspan told the Daily News. “All of the things I said were in response to the position that the college was taking, requesting revocation.”
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Earlier this year, Galea spoke with The News about his pending hearing, and Galea said he was prepared to accept whatever punishment he receives – even the loss of his medical license.
“I have to pay the price,” Galea said in January. “I’m at the mercy of the committee.”
Galea, who does not have a license to practice medicine in the U.S. (and never had one), also said he never used PEDs with any pro athletes in the U.S. Galea told the Associated Press in 2010 that he only treated A-Rod with anti-inflammatories following Rodriguez’s 2009 hip surgery. Greenspan also told The News earlier this year that it’s possible that Galea could appeal the punishment if he and Greenspan do not feel it’s “appropriate or fair.”
The CPSO’s discipline committee lists much of the detail from Galea’s U.S. federal case on its website, including how his assistant, Mary Anne Catalano, helped transport unapproved drugs, including Actovegin (derived from calf’s blood), across the border. Catalano pleaded guilty in Buffalo federal court to lying to border agents. She was sentenced to one year probation.
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After Silver stated the college’s position last week, it is now up to the panel to decide what punishment Galea will receive.
“If a discipline panel finds that a doctor has committed an act of professional misconduct, the panel may use its discretion in ordering the penalty,” said a CPSO spokeswoman. “The penalty options available include taking action that directly affects the doctor’s license, such as imposing practice restrictions, or suspending or revoking the license. The panel can also order the physician to pay a fine of not more than $ 35,000 to the Minister of Finance, and order a public reprimand.”
Greenspan said he thinks the panel’s decision on Galea will probably come in another month or two.
“We accepted that there had been professional misconduct based upon exactly the facts that you know about from (Galea’s) Buffalo (federal case). The agreed statement of fact in Buffalo became the agreed statement of fact to purposes of the college’s discipline hearing,” said Greenspan. “There are no additional facts.”
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