Canadian Doctor Sentenced for Providing Treatment with Unapproved Drugs
|U.S. Attorney’s Office December 16, 2011|
BUFFALO, NY—U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Dr. Anthony Galea, 52, of Toronto, Canada, who was convicted of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce for the purpose of treating professional athletes, was sentenced to one year supervised release by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. Galea has already forfeited $275,000 as required by the plea agreement signed in this case. The drugs included human growth hormone (HGH) and Actovegin, a derivative of calf’s blood.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Paul J. Campana and Mary Clare Kane, who handled the case, stated that Galea traveled to the United States numerous times from 2007 through September 2009, in order to provide medical treatments to professional athletes, including players in the National Football League (NFL) and Major League Baseball (MLB). Galea, who is not licensed to practice medicine in the United States, admitted traveling to 13 locations, including New York City, Miami, Washington, D.C., and Boston, to administer four different kinds of treatments. One type of treatment involved injecting athletes with a mixture containing HGH, while a second type of treatment involved injections of Actovegin.
Federal law requires that drugs intended for human consumption, such as prescription medicines, must be approved by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (FDA). HGH is not approved by the FDA as a treatment for sports injuries and is banned by most professional sports leagues, including the NFL and MLB. Actovegin is not approved for any use in humans.
“This office will vigorously enforce those laws designed to protect the health, safety and well being of our citizens,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “At the same time, we will continue to protect the integrity of our borders, and ensure that the nation’s various immigration and employment laws are evenly applied to all, without regard to economic, educational or supposed social standing.”
“Today’s sentencing of defendant Dr. Anthony Galea demonstrates the commitment of the Food and Drug Administration-Office of Criminal Investigations to target those who enter the U.S. with a deliberate disregard for the laws established to protect the American public from exposure to drugs for uses that have not been FDA approved,” said Special Agent in Charge Mark Dragonetti of the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office. “FDA/OCI commends the U.S. Attorney’s Office as well as our law enforcement counterparts in this joint effort.”
“The success of this investigation was a result of the sustained collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations, Food and Drug Administration, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Christopher M. Piehota. “These agencies, along with members of the FBI’s Western New York Health Care Fraud Task Force, will continue to jointly focus resources to investigate all fraudulent or illegal practices associated with the medical field.”
“Today’s sentencing underscores ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) commitment to protect the health and safety of the American public,” said James C. Spero, Special Agent in Charge of ICE HSI in Buffalo. “ICE HSI and our law enforcement partners in the U.S. and Canada are determined to stop the flow of prohibited drugs into the United States.”
“This case began with the hard work and vigilance of CBP Officers working at the Port of Buffalo,” said James Engleman, Director of Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection. “It serves as an excellent example of cooperation between several federal law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to bring a case to a complete prosecution.”
On July 25, 2011, Mary Anne Catalano, an employee of the defendant in Canada, was sentenced by Judge Arcara to one year probation for making false statements at the border.
The sentencing is the result of an investigation by special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge James C. Spero; the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Office of Criminal Investigations, New York Field Office, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Mark Dragonetti; and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Christopher Piehota.