Investigation of Dr. Ramon Scruggs, New Hope Health Center, May Implicate More MLB Players
The New York Times is reporting that the United States attorney’s office for the Northern District of California is investigating whether or not Dr. Ramon Scruggs illegally prescribed performance-enhancing drugs to patients including some Major League Baseball players.
Scruggs was implicated in the Albany based investigation into the distribution of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone over the internet. As detailed previously at this site and in the Mitchell Report, Scruggs is said to have prescribed anabolic steroids to Troy Glaus and Scott Schoeneweis in 2003 and 2004.
Citing “three lawyers who have been briefed on the investigation,” the Times reported that the investigation has “uncovered the names of other major league players who had received prescriptions from Scruggs.”
“It’s not as big as (Kirk) Radomski, but certainly is something significant,” one of the lawyers said in characterizing the investigation.“
As seen with BALCO, Jason Grimsley and Radomski, the names of players implicated in these types of cases are typically redacted from court documents until after the investigation is concluded. It is not known when that might be.
Scruggs, who started the New Hope Health Center (newhopemed.com), a California based anti-aging clinic, first came under serious scrutiny in 2004.
“In a formal accusation filed in June 2004 and updated in June 2006, the state medical board said that since 2000, Scruggs had “prescribed approximately 6,073 prescriptions of dangerous drugs or controlled substances over the Internet without a good faith examination of the patients” in and out of California.
In the settlement, Scruggs agreed the state could prove the charges and accepted a $4,800 fine and 35 months of probation: during that time he is required to have an outside monitor, take various courses and cease prescribing over the Internet. The settlement was agreed to in August 2006 and took effect in March 2007.”
In an interview with Anabolic Extreme (anabolicextreme.com) published in two parts (Part 1 on April 1999 and Part 2 on July 2000), Scruggs described himself as “an alternative physician.” The interviewer, Jason Meuller, had first hand knowledge of Scruggs’ practices as described in the introduction to part 2 of the interview.
“ “Dr. Scruggs is an anti-aging and performance enhancement specialist. To be blunt, he prescribes steroids to both the aged and the athletes. Yes, I know, physicians don’t prescribe steroids, right? Well, this physician does, I know not only because I’ve referred dozens of people to his practice, but also because I’m a patient myself.”
The interview is a VERY interesting read. Here are some excerpts in no particular order:
“Q: HOW DO YOU DETERMINE WHEN SOMEONE IS PHYSICALLY AND MENTALLY READY TO USE ANABOLIC STEROIDS?
Scruggs: You almost can’t do that. I have a six page medical questionnaire that I require my patients to fill out, I require them to have blood work, I require them to have a consultation with me that typically lasts 40 minutes and it can last up to 2 hours. Even with that, what you’re really asking is how do you determine whether a person is emotionally stable enough, mature enough to follow directions and not get themselves into trouble. That’s really what you’re asking, correct?
“Q: DESCRIBE THE PROCESS SOMEONE MUST GO THROUGH TO GET A PRESCRIPTION ON ANABOLICS FROM YOU.
Scruggs: Basically they have to fill out that questionnaire I mentioned earlier, then there is about $600 of blood work they have to get done, and that’s with my discount. Generally my patients get a 50-60% discount on their blood work as long as they do it through the lab I usually use. That’s just the power of numbers and buying, I was able to negotiate that. As an aside, I make nothing from the blood work. That’s illegal and I don’t engage in it. So they have to do extensive blood work, they have to fill out a very detailed questionnaire, and they have to have a 40-minute to hour interview with me. That’s basically where we decide if someone can do this. Now, I’ll admit to you that as I do this, my criteria have relaxed. Before I would only do this with athletes or with ordinary citizens if they had a limitation, if they were hypogonadal, if they were on the low side of normal on their blood work. I’ve gradually relaxed that to include people who would be quote unquote normal. You’ve got to realize that virtually everything hormonal is considered normal by the establishment. They have virtually no ability to look at, let’s say the estrogen/progesterone levels for a woman, and testosterone for men and women, and say anything much about them at all because everybody from age 12 to age 90 is considered normal. It kind of begs the question, how do I know? How did I learn to do what I do? Well, there have been two different lineages of endocrinology in this country. There’s the conventional lineage that passes it down through university medicine and university programs. Now back in the 1940’s when human hormones were first isolated, those endocrinologists really knew more than the conventional people now. Because they were using real hormones, they understood the difference between real hormones and the synthetics that were just beginning to be developed. That understanding has been lost and conventional physicians believe that pharmaceutical hormones, and this is much more important with female hormones than it is with anabolic steroids, they believe that there is no difference. This has been disastrous for women, disastrous! There’s no other word for it. 70% of women who start on hormone replacement therapy, conventional hormone replacement therapy, stop it within a year. They abandon it because they feel worse. That’s because they are using agents that are not real hormones. It’s just been discovered that artificial progesterone increases the risk of breast cancer. Natural progesterone does not. There’s obviously going to be a big push to get physicians back to the use of natural progesterone. The pharmaceutical companies train physicians to use their product, that’s why physicians generally don’t like natural products. We’ve been brainwashed, we’ve been brainwashed into being dupes for the pharmaceutical companies. That’s very strong language, but I don’t know how else to explain it. The pharmaceutical reps are our little buddies; they have their arms around our shoulders literally from the first day of medical school. We look up to them! I mean they take us to Las Vegas for the weekend, they arrange barbecues, they give us our first stethoscope, our first diagnostic kit, our first PDR comes as a gift from the drug companies, so they get us feeling cozy with them very early on. We tend to defend them and believe what they tell us because of that.
Q: ARE YOU CONCERNED WITH THE WAY YOU’RE PERCEIVED BY YOUR PEERS AND MOST OF SOCIETY FOR THE WORK YOU DO AT NEW HOPE MED?
Scruggs: Yes, I am, I’m concerned about it. However, I feel like I’ve been led along a certain path in life and it’s almost as if I’m supposed to do certain things by fate. I would have, had it been my choice, done things differently from how they’ve actually happened. But I accept that there are no mistakes, which God has us do the things He would have us do, despite what our little self may want, and I feel directed. So yes, I am concerned about it, but at the same time, I know I’m right! I feel very comfortable in the choices I’ve made and the reason for those choices. I know that I’m helping people far more than I’m hurting them. If you want to know the truth, I don’t like taking 22 or 23 year-old and putting them on steroids, it makes me nervous. Yet, I’d rather have them come to me and manage their steroid use, and then have them do it on their own.