January 7, 2016 / 2:07 AM / 4 years ago

Canadian doctor, pharmacist face probes after sports-doping video

VANCOUVER (Reuters) - A Canadian doctor and pharmacist face inquiries by health authorities over allegations made by a December television documentary that they obtained banned performance-enhancing drugs for athletes, officials said on Wednesday.

The two men appeared in a Dec. 27 investigative report by Al Jazeera network that linked well-known players from the National Football League, such as Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, and Major League Baseball (MLB) with banned substances.

The documentary has been controversial and several athletes, including Manning, swiftly denied any wrongdoing.

The College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia said on Wednesday it is investigating Vancouver-based naturopath Brandon Spletzer, who could lose his right to practice.

Spletzer is also licensed in the U.S. state of Washington, and the Washington Department of Health said it was in the first stage of a potential investigation that is due to last 21 days.

Canadian pharmacist Chad Robertson is the target of a “pre-investigation” by the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia that will determine if an investigation is warranted, spokeswoman Gillian Vrooman said. She said this phase, which started this week, typically takes three to four weeks.

In the documentary, Spletzer was shown providing an undercover reporter posing as an athlete with an array of pill bottles and explaining how he could delete medical records if, for example, the World Anti-Doping Agency investigated. Naturopaths in British Columbia are allowed to prescribe drugs.

“The college can confirm that there is an investigation related to the recent Al Jazeera report,” College of Naturopathic Physicians of British Columbia registrar Howard Greenstein said in a statement.

If Spletzer is found to have violated the college’s standards, he could lose his right to practice. Attempts to contact Spletzer by phone and email for comment were unsuccessful.

Greenstein said Spletzer is entitled to continue practicing in British Columbia pending completion of the investigation.

Spletzer’s employment at Vancouver-based Sage Clinic has been suspended, the clinic has said.

Robertson, who appeared in the documentary telling a reporter that he has “doped people,” could not be reached for comment.

The Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman and Philadelphia Phillies’ Ryan Howard on Tuesday sued the Al Jazeera America television network for defamation over allegations that the MLB players used a performance-enhancing drug.

Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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