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'Anti-Aging’ Clinics Target of Trial

The federal government’s effort to curb the excesses of South Florida’s prescription-happy medical culture -- in this case, “anti-aging” clinics supplying anabolic steroids to body-builders and others --is being played out in a courthouse in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Postreports. (Paywall alert)

Dr. Timothy Sigman of Palm Beach Gardens and Jensen Beach compounding pharmacist Peter Del Toro began their seventh week of trial Monday on conspiracy charges in connection with the steroid ring. Four doctors who practiced in Palm Beach County - MDs Jeffrey Perelman, Steven Pearlstein, and Alan Lefkin and chiropractor Craig Beaver - already have pleaded guilty.

But Sigman, 42, is fighting back with high-profile attorney Richard Lubin, who says Sigman wants the freedom to practice a kind of medicine that his patients need. An internist trained in the Caribbean, he has written that mainstream American physicians are “ignorant” of the benefits of hormone replacement therapy in keeping people healthy. As for his practice of prescribing to patients he’d never met, Lubin said, that’s “telemedicine,” the wave of the future.

The charges against Del Toro go beyond his part in the anabolic steroid ring, the Post reports. He is also accused of illegal distribution of a strong narcotic, oxycodone, from his compounding pharmacy, Treasure Coast Specialty Pharmacy.

One of Del Toro’s professors when he went to University of Florida pharmacy school, Paul Doering, testified that there was  no medical justification for the prescriptions he filled and sent out.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.