Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The UK Government’s Culture Secretary, John Whittingdale, is today meeting with UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) over its failure to stop Dr. Mark Bonar, despite receiving evidence that he was prescribing performance enhancing drugs to elite athletes two years ago. In an investigation by the Sunday Times, published yesterday, Dr. Bonar (pictured) claimed to have doped over 150 elite athletes.
In video evidence (see below), he also agreed to supply an undercover aspiring Olympic runner, scheduled to take part in the British Olympic selection trials in April, with performance-enhancing drugs.
More exclusive #dopingscandal revelations… Read the full story only in The Sunday Times.
Posted by The Times and The Sunday Times on Saturday, 2 April 2016
Whittingdale has already asked for an independent investigation into what action was taken by UKAD. UKAD firstly argues that as Bonar is not governed by a sporting organisation, he falls outside of their jurisdiction. Secondly, it argues that the evidence submitted in 2014 by the athlete concerned was not strong enough to refer Dr. Bonar to the General Medical Council (GMC), which regulates UK medical professionals.
— John Whittingdale (@JWhittingdale) April 3, 2016
UKAD commenced an investigation into Dr. Bonar following interviews with a sportsperson in April and May 2014’, read a UKAD statement. ‘Following those interviews and an investigation, UKAD found that there was nothing to indicate that Dr. Bonar was governed by a sport and UKAD had no other intelligence to corroborate the sportsman’s allegations. As a result, UKAD recommended to the sportsperson that more information was needed and as Dr. Bonar fell outside of UKAD’s jurisdiction, that information could be passed, if appropriate, to the General Medical Council, which does have the powers to investigate possible medical malpractice and pursue if necessary […] UKAD received handwritten prescriptions from the sportsperson in October 2014. The sportsperson claimed to have been issued these prescriptions by Dr. Bonar and UKAD consulted an independent medical expert to examine the prescriptions. After assessing all the evidence, as per the National Intelligence Model, UKAD did not believe that there were grounds, at that point, to refer the case to the GMC.’
UKAD is currently working in Russia to test athletes whilst the Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) is suspended. While it said that it supported the call for an independent review, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) also confirmed that as Bonar was not governed by sport, UKAD could do little. ‘While in this case the private doctor in question was not governed by sport and therefore was outside the jurisdiction of the Code, WADA and the anti-doping community is only too aware of the negative influence entourage members can have in influencing their athletes to dope, and that is why we introduced strong rules within the World Anti-Doping Code at the start of 2015, which ensure unscrupulous support personnel that cheat the system are sanctioned fully’, read an e-mailed statement.
Bonar: already banned?
The GMC confirmed that Bonar has been registered without a licence to practice since 22 March 2016 and has had conditions on his practice since 16 June 2015. It is understood that this is due to an upcoming Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPT) hearing between 11 and 15 April in Manchester. A December 2015 hearing alleged that Bonar hid a woman’s terminal cancer from her so that he could continue billing her for treatment, reported The Mirror. This appears to be corroborated by the MPT case notes (case no. 6067923). ‘It is also alleged that Dr. Bonar failed to inform Patient A that there was no option for curative treatment for her cancer’, they read. ‘It is further alleged that Dr Bonar administered total parenteral nutrition when it was not clinically indicated; he failed to adequately monitor Patient A, he failed to obtain Patient A’s informed consent for treatment despite the fact that she had the capacity to provide it and he failed to work with colleagues in the interests of Patient A’.
“I would like to thank the Sunday Times for bringing these issues to our attention”, said Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC in an emailed statement which also confirmed that the GMC was not ‘made aware’ of any investigations by UKAD. “These are serious allegations and we will follow them up as a matter of urgency. We expect all doctors to follow our guidance – if they fail to do so they are putting their right to practise in jeopardy. Dr. Bonar does not currently hold a licence and is therefore unable to practise medicine in the UK. Any doctor without a licence who continues to carry out the privileged duties of a doctor is committing a serious breach of our guidance, and potentially a criminal offence.”
‘You must not prescribe or collude in the provision of medicines or treatment with the intention of improperly enhancing an individual’s performance in sport, reads Article 75 of the GMC’s ‘Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices’. ‘This does not preclude the provision of any care or treatment where your intention is to protect or improve the patient’s health’.
Bonar rented rooms at the Omniya clinic near Harrods in London’s wealthy Knightsbridge district to treat his patients. ‘We terminated Dr Bonar’s professional services agreement with The Omniya Clinic on Friday (April 1st) upon learning from the Sunday Times that the GMC had revoked Dr. Bonar’s licence to practice medicine in the UK’, read a statement emailed by Omniya. ‘Dr. Bonar rented consulting rooms at our premises to treat his private patients over a period of about 18 months. We have checked our records thoroughly during the period Dr. Bonar worked at Omniya and apart from the undercover athlete the Sunday Times used in its investigation, we can find absolutely no trace of a single high profile sportsman or woman, who has been treated or been seen at the clinic by Dr. Bonar. We were never aware that the UK anti-doping watchdog (UKAD) had been provided with any evidence of Dr. Bonar’s previous alleged activities, presumably because nothing happened as a result of it. It goes without saying that as a medical practice The Omniya Clinic vigorously condemns the prescribing and use of any banned substances by professional athletes.’