WASHINGTON (AP) — A doctor who has treated Tiger Woods and many other pro athletes was charged by Canadian authorities on Wednesday with selling an unapproved drug known as Actovegin.

Dr. Anthony Galea, 51, also was charged with conspiracy to import an unapproved drug, conspiracy to export a drug and smuggling goods into Canada by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Another court date was set for Friday.

Galea was arrested on Oct. 15 at his Toronto clinic. A person familiar with the investigation said it was carried out with help from the FBI. The person was not authorized to discuss the case and therefore spoke on condition of anonymity.

Galea’s attorney Brian H. Greenspan said he expects Galea to be vindicated.

Greenspan said the investigation began when the doctor’s assistant, who often drove around Galea, was stopped at the Canada-U.S. border. Human growth hormone and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf’s blood, were found in Galea’s bag in the car. Galea’s assistant has been charged in the U.S.

Using, selling or importing Actovegin is illegal in the United States.

Greenspan confirmed Galea has used HGH himself and prescribed it to non-athlete patients over the age of 40 to improve their quality of life, but said he has never given it to athletes.

“It’s a therapeutic substance that extends life, and in his view the literature supports the prudent use of HGH in older people that enhances their general health,” Greenspan said.

The FBI has opened an investigation based in part on medical records found on Galea’s computer relating to several professional athletes, people briefed on the inquiry told The New York Times on condition of anonymity because they did not want to be identified discussing a continuing investigation.

The anonymous sources did not disclose the names of the athletes, and Galea told the newspaper “it would be impossible” for investigators to have found material linking his athletes to performance-enhancing drugs.

The Times reported that Galea visited Woods’ home in Florida at least four times in February and March to provide platelet-rich plasma therapy after his agents at International Management Group became concerned by the golfer’s slow recovery from June 2008 knee surgery.

In an e-mail to the AP, agent Mark Steinberg said: “No one at IMG has ever met or recommended Dr. Galea, nor were we worried about the progress of Tiger’s recovery, as the Times falsely reported. The treatment Tiger received is a widely accepted therapy and to suggest some connection with illegality is recklessly irresponsible.”

The therapy has proved successful at treating ailments such as tennis elbow, but from Jan. 1 the World Anti-Doping Agency is banning the re-injection of platelets into muscles because that may enhance performance. Athletes can still inject them into joints and tendons to help recovery from injury if they follow procedures to declare the use to WADA.

Five-time Olympic swimmer Dara Torres, New York Mets shortstop Jose Reyes, Colorado closer Huston Street and former Washington pitcher John Patterson also were treated by Galea, the Times reported.


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