Investigative Report: Human Growth Hormone on the GoldCoast
Presenter,L. Sales: Yesterday evening, lateline uncovered loopholes inregulation regarding the performance enhancing drug HGH that makeit possible for Hormone Replacement Therapy HRT doctors to supplyit freely to nearly anyone. One weight lifter that frequentlycompetes in competitions told us that it was much easier these daysto acquire steroids, and he knew of a fairly significant number oflocations just on the Gold Coast where he could get his hands onit.
Thisevening, Lateline investigates the anti-aging clinic where HumanGrowth Hormone therapy is touted as a wonder drug, though theclinic denies providing it to athletes for the purpose ofperformance enhancement.
J. Stewartand C. Duffy produced this segment.
Reporter,C. Duffy: Here at the Gold Coast, the alluring outdoor culture ofsurfing permeates the vibrant and young lives as well as the GoldCoast’s vast aging population.
For a lotof folks, the Surfer’s Paradise is entirely about what is seen onthe surface. It is not at all surprising that many that areapproaching their sunset years are taking big chances in attemptsto lengthen those days in the sun.
B. Byatt iseighty four years old, but he is fighting the concept of becomingan old man. Every other day he follows the same routine,administering himself with injections of Human Growth Hormone.
HGH User,B. Byatt: Well, it seems to have some sort of positive effect onme. It is pretty clear if you look at me that I’m pretty muchwrinkle, you see?
C. Duffy:And as is true with a large number of HGH users, B. Byatt becameknowledgeable about the Hormone Treatment Therapy through hisexperience at one of the many antiaging facilities that areemerging at the Gold Coast. The Entrepreneur A. Jovich believesthat he built the first anti-aging clinic in Australia 7 years ago.He saw inspiration in a trip he took to Palm Springs, Nevada. Hebegan a regimen there which included HGH
Anti-AgingFacility Proprietor A. Yovich: I am living, breathing evidence thatHormone Treatment Therapy works. I feel absolutely fantastic. I’mabsolutely not a crook or a swindler. I hear the same complimentsfrom everyone: ¤½Oh gosh, you lookamazing!¤ I’m not exactly sure if they are telling thetruth or lying to me, but I feel amazing nonetheless.
C. Duffy:This sixty five year old sincerely believes that the cocktail ofdrugs that he administers to himself each week has made his bodyfeel and look ten years younger. He tells us that HGH was the keyto his successful anti-aging treatment.
A. Yovich:HGH can make you less susceptible to many kinds of disease. Whenyour endogenous hormone levels sag, it seems that is when the bodybegins to make problems for the man within it.
C. Duffy:Those who practice the mainstream profession of medicine areincredibly skeptical of these amazing claims. Endocrine scientistsand the leader of the Austrailian Medical Association have informedLateline that Human Growth Hormone can lead to conditions such ascancer, diabetes, and the malformation of the bones and head.
New SouthWales Member of the Board of Medicine A. Reid: This entire conceptof one-facilities causes considerable problems for us at the board.It appears to be the direction that the practice of medicine isheading, but it is not a situation that most of us are all thatthrilled about. Facilities that are created in order to combat oneparticular issue seem to be flawed at a fundamental level.
C. Duffy:Mr. A. Jovich strikes back, revealing that every patient isrequired to undergo periodic blood testing, going further to saythat their treatment is always closely monitored. He goes on to saythat the anti-aging facility provides HGH responsibly and veryoften turns away young athletes that come in also trying to scorethe drug.
A. Yovich:We’ do not have any problems. I should know. I’ve been taking HGHfor the last ten years. I do not have a giant head. I take myrecommended blood tests. It is all working out perfect for me.
C. Duffy:But do you believe that there are any ethical issues that resultfrom participating in a field of medicine that mainstreampractitioners find themselves so intensely skeptical?
A. Yovich:When you put it that way, it seems to be a very controversial kindof question. I feel that I could answer it in a few different ways.Then again, all I’m thinking is that maybe those guys are justminding their own yard.
C. Duffy:The physician at Mr. Yovich’s facility is Dr. M. Tair. He claims tobe one of the pioneers of the anti-aging industry. He owns anotherclinic at another location on the Gold Coast.
A. Yovich:It was at that facility 4 years back that B. Byatt became sold onthe benefits of Human Growth Hormone.
B. Byatt:The only thing that I can express is how thankful I am for Dr.Tait. That is the man that is going to keep me young as long as Ican afford it. Thank God for him.
I do notfeel that I would be worth 2 cents if it were not for HGH. I reallydo not! I can wholeheartedly recommend HGH to any person. It hashad absolutely no negative effect upon me.
C. Duffy:B. Byatt claims Dr Tait provides him with free Human Growth Hormoneand has done so for the last three years. The hormone doctor evensupplies him with syringes. Byatt claims he called Dr. Tait thesame day we visited so that he could acquire more Human GrowthHormone.
B. Byatt: Icalled and told him that I was down to my last tube. Dr. Tait toldme that he will always have some HGH saved for me. He is amazing.He is such an awesome friend in my life.
C. Duffy:Why is he so incredibly generous toward you? HGH has to be quiteexpensive.
B. Byatt:I’m not sure, really. I guess it is just the way he is, right?
C. Duffy:It is not cheap at all for patients who must pay for Human GrowthHormone, however. The cost of hormone replacement therapy per weekis between two hundred and four hundred dollars each week.
Even thoughDr. Tait is viewed as a god by many of his patients, the doctor hashad some run-ins with authorities of the Australian MedicalAssociation because he has been known to play fast and loose withthe rules when he prescribes Human Growth Hormone. Only 2 yearsprior, the doctor was convicted in court of acquiring and sellingHGH. He now faces the threat of deregistration by the Medical Boardof Queensland because he has been uncovered prescribing HormoneTherapies to cancer sufferers in terminal stages of illness. As aresult of those issues, his old clinic, the Fountain of Life, wasordered closed. But now, Dr. Tait has formed a new Age-reversingclinic he has named Life4Ever. It is immediately next door to thelocation of his old clinic.
The Boardof Medicine claims that the doctor is going to go before a tribunalof health professionals at some point before October. At thatpoint, it will be judged whether or not he will be allowed topractice medicine in the future.
A statementreleased by the Board claims that complaints have been coming inregarding Dr. Tait’s highly unconventional therapies that he hasprescribed to patients dying of cancer. Among these patients wasthe late legend of soccer Johnny Warren. Doctor Tait chooses not todiscuss any of these complaints and allegations.
DoctorTait, I would be particularly interested in asking you a briefquestion or two. Do you mind?
Anti-AgingFacility Owner, Dr. Tait: Feel free to ask, but I do not actuallyhave time to answer because I’m heading to surgery.
C. Duffy: Ihad the o
pportunity to speak with one of your old clients, B.Byatt, yesterday afternoon…
Dr. Tait:Well, that is nice.
C. Duffy:He spoke so highly about you. He told us that you were giving himfree Human Growth Hormone and looking after him quite well. Is thistrue?
Dr. Tait:Indeed it is, yes.
C. Duffy:The trial against Dr. Tait revealed that he had provided HGH to ayoung Pro body builder, though it is his controversial andunconventional treatments for cancer that have put his privilege topractice at risk.
How aboutwe talk about one of the other¤pending casesthat you are to go before the Queensland Board of Medicine todiscuss?
Dr. Tait: Irefuse to make a comment about that..
C. Duffy:Do you have confidence that you will be cleared of wrongdoing?
Dr. Tait: Irefuse to make any comments at all.
C. Duffy:Well, you seem to have founded a new facility at this location, soyou have to have a pretty high level of confidence.
Dr. Tait:Sure, sure sure. Have to move on to new adventures in life…
C. Duffy:Indeed, would you sit down and have a real interview with us?
Dr. Tait: Ido not think so.
C. Duffy:How unfortunate…And why is that?
Dr. Tait: Iwish you the best. Goodbye.
Employee ofDr. Tait’s Clinic: We thank you, and I’m sorry, but if you wish tospeak with the doctor you will have to set up an appointment.
C. Duffy:It is entirely clear that Dr. Tait intends to fight the chargesthat he will face as he makes his appearance before the Board ofMedicine.
A. Yovich,proprietor of an Australian anti-aging clinic, tells us that Dr.Tait’s main goal with his facility is to enhance the quality oflife of his patients through the usage of HGH.
A. Yovich:Doctors who specialize in anti-aging believe that our bodies agebecause the level of hormones in our bodies to drop. This is thereason why aging occurs. Think about a seagull, for example. Theydo not experience the same problems that we do. They never haveissues with their hormones. They fly constantly, and the agedseagulls are able to easily maintain in comparison with youngerseagulls, and these birds can live as long as one hundred years!They just keep flying until one day they die and simply fall intothe ocean. The bird could have been ninety years old. He could havebeen one hundred! They always have the same capabilities no mattertheir age, though. I dream about being a seagull some days, butthen again, we are trying our best.
C.Duffy:Seagulls live somewhere between ten and fifteen years onaverage. This is the response that the Australian MedicalAssociation had in regard to the claim that Human Growth Hormonecould slow down or reverse the process of aging.
Presidentof the AMA, R. Capolingua: Taking HGH will most likely give you anicer looking dead body at the end of your life, but our board doesnot feel that localized focused, single-issue facilities that focuson specialty treatments respond efficiently or honestly to theneeds of the patient. We feel that they merely respond to demandsof the market and profit margins.
C. Duffy:N. Roxon, Minister of Health, has yet to pass judgment upon theAustralian Medical Association’s clarion calls for tighterregulation regarding the prescription and sale of HGH.