Letters from the Issue of March 20, 2008

"The finger-pointing conflicts with your otherwise tolerant view of casual drug use."

The Other Side of Steroids

We'll spend our money elsewhere: I am shocked and dismayed by Michael Mooney's article "Field of Schemes" (March 13). We have been loyal advertisers in New Times for three years. We have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars advertising our services in your paper to build a successful brand name. However, in one article you have completely destroyed the brand we have built. The article was one-sided and has completely mischaracterized the nature of our business. We were not even contacted by the reporter to show the other side of the story.

I do agree there have been rogue companies that have been marketing human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone to athletes. We do not agree with the business practices of these companies and believe they should be closed down if they are distributing steroids and other hormones illegally to people who do not need them. However, your article implies that all such companies in South Florida operate in the same illegal and unethical manner. This could not be further from the truth. In addition, you characterize testosterone and HGH as not having any medical benefits and report they are prescribed by rejuvenation clinics only for the purposes of muscle building and athletic performance.

But there is another side of the industry that is not even mentioned in the article. Our clinic, AAG Health & Wellness, prescribes testosterone and growth hormone only to patients with hormonal deficiencies. We do not prescribe to people under the age of 35, people with optimal hormonal level, people without symptoms, athletes, bodybuilders, or patients who have contraindications in which HGH or testosterone cannot be prescribed. If you had bothered to come to our facility in Aventura, you would see that all of our patients are required to have a physical exam, detailed lab work, and detailed body composition and bone-density testing to ensure their suitability for the treatment.

Any time medical treatment is performed, the patient weighs benefits against any risks. If your hormone levels are low, the benefits include increased energy, sex drive, loss of body fat, better cholesterol readings, fewer illnesses, better recovery, and better sense of well-being. Patients with low growth hormone level and low testosterone levels actually have more medical problems than those with normal levels. The risks of hormone treatment you describe in your article are very rare and are caused by the systematic abuse, not the proper use, of hormones. We have treated thousands of patients and we have not seen any of the side effects you mention.

Mark White, AAG Health & Wellness

Aventura

Editor's note: Mark White and his firm were never mentioned in the article. No one accused AAG of illegally marketing hormone to athletes, and the story does not say all companies do so.

Call the ethics cops: I read the article "Field of Schemes" with great interest. It appears to largely concentrate on the gray-market business side of the steroid debate, while offering scant support to the contention that steroids, when used by healthy males, are dangerous.

The article seems to imply an ethical failure by physicians who prescribe testosterone and human growth hormone to otherwise healthy men.

Because science does not seem to be the primary focus of this article, or the debate, I suggest that the author Google "testosterone treatment" and "American Medical Association." Doing so will reveal an AMA report that notes, "No significant side effects have ever been reported in the medical literature from steroid use in healthy males."

Such a minor level of actual investigation might, however, paint a slightly more complex picture than the author of this investigative article would appear to like, so I can understand why it was avoided. However, I am confused, because the finger-pointing in this article seems to conflict with New Times's otherwise tolerant view of most other casual and social drug use.

I also note that, despite the vilification of organizations offering such treatment, New Times accepted four large advertisements from the same kinds of "rejuvenation" companies that are castigated in this very issue.

I wonder what the ethics police would make of that?

Bob

Via web commentary


Thanks for the Funny

It was right on the money: I just wanted Elyse Wanshel to know that "As Nastie as They Wanna Be" (March 6) was a phenomenal and hilarious article. The quotes are classic. I feel for the girl who couldn't get a job at McDonald's because she wasn't the kind of bilingual they were looking for.

Kiri Walton

Nashville, Tennessee


Missing Miguel

Don't forget the fans: Regarding "Spanish Empire" by José Dávila (March 6): Miguel Bosé's show was great. I have been a fan for almost 30 years, and I drove five hours to see the concert in Miami, because the last time I saw him was in Chile 11 years ago.

The only disappointment was that he didn't stop to sign autographs or say hello to the fans who were waiting for him when he left the concert. We waited two hours just to congratulate him, but he got in a dark van and left. There were only six of us and our husbands, Miguel — why didn't you stop?

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