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HomeMiscellanyPharmacist suspended, fined nearly two years after sports doping exposé

Pharmacist suspended, fined nearly two years after sports doping exposé


Bob Mackin

The British Columbia pharmacist in Al Jazeera’s 2015 hidden camera documentary on doping in sports was suspended for six months and fined $10,000, theBreaker has learned. 

Pharmacist Chad Robertson (right) and Liam Collins outside Fortius Centre in Burnaby in 2015 (Al Jazeera)

Chadwick Aaron Robertson’s Nov. 22-dated disciplinary notice was quietly published on the College of Pharmacists of British Columbia website.

“The College considers, and the Registrant [Robertson] concedes, that this conduct reflected negatively on the Registrant and the profession of pharmacy in British Columbia,” reads the notice. “It constitutes professional misconduct, a serious matter pursuant to section 26 of the Health Professions Act.”

In “The Dark Side: The Secret World of Sports Doping,” Robertson and naturopathic doctor Brandon Spletzer were shown counselling undercover reporter Liam Collins, a British ex-hurdler who claimed to be mounting a comeback for the Rio 2016 Olympics. Collins came to Vancouver in May and October 2015 and the documentary aired in December 2015.

The disciplinary notice said Robertson provided Collins a training protocol that was never put into operation, but he made comments on a series of occasions in 2015 “about the use of banned drugs and their suitability for the purpose.” 

Robertson was a partner with Spletzer in a company called Pro Med. Robertson boasted to Collins that he had “doped people and no one’s got caught, because the system’s so easy to beat. And it still is, that’s the sad fact.

“I can take a guy with average genetics and make him world champion,” Robertson told Collins.  

Robertson and the Inquiry Committee reached a six-point consent agreement. His registration as a full pharmacist was suspended for six months beginning Nov. 22 and he has until Nov. 22, 2018 to pay the fine. A letter of reprimand is permanently on-file and Robertson was ordered to appear before an Inquiry Committee panel for a verbal reprimand. 

Robertson was also ordered to successfully complete a program on professional and problem-based ethics for healthcare professionals no later than Nov. 22, 2018. He must “thoroughly review” relevant legislation, complete the college’s Code of Ethics Educational Tutorial and sign declarations of understanding and compliance with legislative and ethical requirements.

Robertson’s discipline is more severe than the 10-day ban that Spletzer agreed to in March 2016 from the College of Naturopathic Physicians of B.C. Spletzer admitted to importing and providing drugs not approved by Health Canada. He also had to complete an ethics course, be mentored by a senior naturopathic doctor, submit to random, spot audits and refrain from treating national or international athletes until spring 2017. 

Spletzer told the Vancouver Courier in May 2016: “It’s not my intention to help people cheat, it’s my intention to help people live longer, healthier. I’d love to change people’s minds. I realize that’s not going to happen for everyone, I can only offer an apology for the optics, but what was shown wasn’t the reality of the situation. If people choose to believe that that was reality, that’s their choice, if people choose to believe it was what it was I’d thank them for that, I just look forward to getting back on track.”

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