Anthony Bosch’s clinic, now the focus of a widening steroid investigation, was hidden in plain sight, next to a bank in an office complex on South Dixie Highway across from the University of Miami. Yet it was beyond the reach of state health regulators.
The clinic, BioGenesis of America, fell into a gray area of Florida healthcare law that has allowed many “anti-aging” or “rejuvenation” clinics to proliferate across the state with little government oversight.
Exploiting the same legal loopholes that made South Florida the top source of black-market prescription painkillers, these clinics have helped make the region one of the top markets in the United States for illegal steroids and growth hormones — feeding potentially dangerous medications not just to athletes and bodybuilders, but also to aging men hoping to fend off Father Time.
“How these anti-aging clinics are getting by the law is beyond me,” said Dr. Gary Wadler, a New York physician who works with the World Anti-Doping Agency.
Bosch is now under criminal investigation from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration over allegations that he supplied steroids and human growth hormones to several Major League Baseball players, including New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez. Bosch’s ties to the ballplayers were first reported by the Miami New Times, which received copies of what the newspaper says are Bosch’s handwritten ledgers from his Coral Gables clinic, which opened last March but now sits vacant.
In 2009, the DEA also investigated whether Bosch supplied banned substances to All-Star Manny Ramirez of the Los Angeles Dodgers. No charges were filed. Bosch, 49, could not be reached for comment, and his lawyer did not return messages.
While Bosch’s name may be familiar to the DEA or baseball’s doping investigators, he’s an unknown to Florida health regulators.
Bosch is suspected of prescribing and administering medications, yet he is not a doctor or licensed healthcare professional regulated by the state’s Department of Health. The Health Department does investigate people suspected of prescribing drugs without a license, but the department would not say whether Bosch was the target of an investigation.
Bosch is described as “Dr.” in papers filed in 2009 for a now-defunct corporation, state records show. He is listed as having a Ph.D. on the BioGenesis Facebook page.
Bosch’s clinic — advertised as a “spa” on its Facebook page — was also unregulated, state health officials said. Most medical clinics in Florida are monitored by the state Agency for Health Care Administration; however, AHCA only inspects clinics that accept insurance — and many “anti-aging” clinics do not take insurance.
The Department of Health monitors clinics owned by doctors. But many anti-aging clinics are owned by non-doctors who then hire physicians to work for them — avoiding the scrutiny of regulators.
This is the same gap in the law that allowed scores of pain clinics to sell powerful painkillers across South Florida with almost no oversight, once making Broward County the national pipeline of black-market oxycodone and other dangerous pills. The Legislature finally forced pain clinics to register with the state and increased monitoring in 2009.