A former doctor for the Pittsburgh Steelers was charged in a 185-count indictment for prescribing anabolic steroids and other drugs including human growth hormone and various prescription painkillers. Charged was 62-year-old Dr. Richard Rydze, who left the team after being questioned for a bulk purchase of anabolic steroids. He’s also being charged with healthcare fraud.
The doctor is being accused by authorities of deceptively diagnosing over 90 patients with a condition known as pituitary dwarfism. The doctor listed this condition as a diagnosis so his patients could receive human growth hormones, which are meant to counteract the side effects of steroids. FBI investigators said those who received this type of diagnosis were normal sized adults who didn’t need these meds.
Trouble May Not End Here For Rydze
Assistant U.S. Attorney Carol Skutnik said she’d push for the doctor to remain in custody because he’s continued to prescribe drugs at least 10–15 times since losing his medical license in July.
Additionally, prosecutors in Albany, New York found Rydze’s name on a customer list of an Orlando, Florida pharmacy raided in 2007 on suspicions of operating a steroid ring. Rydze was questioned but never charged in this incident.
In 2007, following the raid and amidst allegations regarding his involvement, Rydze was dropped from the Pittsburgh Steelers medical staff without explanation. When questioned about Rydze, a Steelers spokesman declined comment.
In Pittsburgh, Rydze’s patient list was so broad the FBI has extended their investigation into Cleveland. Federal prosecutors from Cleveland will also try the case, but it will take place before a federal judge in Pittsburgh.
Prosecutor Alleges Rydze Used Prescription Pad As “ Personal ATM”
This indictment doesn’t list names of any patients and prosecutors won’t comment on whether Rydze was providing any players illegally with steroids or other medications. No one on either side of this case is saying he was or wasn’t supplying players.
Assistant U.S. Atty. Steven Dettelbach released a statement regarding Rydze, saying he used “his prescription pad like a personal ATM, doling out steroids, painkillers such as oxycodone and other medicines for his own gain.” He said Rydze profited financially from illegal practices, saying he personally netted $301,000 in pharmacy commissions from one pharmacy and his office received $146,000.
According to CNN.com, Rydze allegedly diagnosed his patients with such problems as hormone imbalance, pituitary deficiency or adrenal deficiency in order to prescribe the drugs.
Rydze has also been charged with conspiring along with James Hatzimbes to distribute steroids and human growth hormone. James Hatzimbes operated a business called HSE Salon and Wellness Center In Pittsburgh. He and Rydze would schedule biweekly “steroid clinics” where they falsely diagnosed patients with medical conditions that would require the use of steroids and growth hormones. At one point, Rydze allegedly diagnosed Hatzimbes with dwarfism. According to FBI investigators, Hatzimbes is 6 ft tall.