Posted by Editor on 11/13/03
Duquette Hearing Update
We reported Tuesday that Dr Maurice Duquette, a Quebec doctor who has been under review by the medical association for prescribing EPO to athletes, has pled guilty to prescribing and administering EPO. He has admitted to prescribing and administering EPO to an international level female cyclist and her coach. There is currently a publication ban on revealing the names of the involved patients.
It has since been made public that the Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) and Quebec Cycling Federation (FQSC) have attached their names to an application by Radio Canada and some Quebec newspapers to have the names of the patients revealed. We spoke today with Louis Barbeau, the Director General of the FQSC, who has been involved in this process from the start (the FQSC brought the allegations of EPO usage to the attention of the Quebec medical association).
CC - What is the current situation?
LB - The situation is that the doctor pleaded guilty on all counts. Some of those counts include the athlete and her coach. The next step is to get the names released for disciplinary action.
CC - So you need those names to proceed?
LB - Without the names we can't really do anything. There is a lawyer representing the CBC (Radio Canada) and other media, and we arranged to have him represent us and the CCA to get the names released.
CC - When will you know if the names will be released?
LB - The judge is deliberating now; we don't know how long. I expect that if the judge continues (the ban) the answer will come pretty quick, but if (the judge) is thinking about releasing it, it will take longer. From what I am told, they will only release if they feel there are significant new factors that support releasing the names.
Even if the judge does decide that there are significant factors, they would then give the athlete's lawyer anywhere from 10 to 30 days to appeal, and they probably would. So, we don't expect anything in the near future, probably not before Christmas.
The steps are there to protect patients, and it is more complicated then I would have thought when we started (this).
CC - Can you take disciplinary action if the names are not released?
LB - Unless the athlete comes forward, there is not too much we can do. We can still set up a disciplinary committee, but it would be much harder (to take any action), unless someone else who had hard evidence came forward. It is a silly situation - everyone knows who it is, but our hands are tied.
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