McKees Rocks pharmacist sentenced in steroid distribution conspiracy

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A pharmacist from McKees Rocks was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison today for conspiracy to improperly distribute steroids and human growth hormone.

William M. Sadowski, 47, at one point co-owned and later managed Robinson-based ANEWrx, which sold performance-enhancing drugs to doctors and clinics. Sadowski's case is linked to that of Dr. Richard Rydze, a former Steelers doctor who has pleaded not guilty to a 185-count indictment related to the sale of performance enhancing drugs and narcotics.

Sadowski's defense emphasized his dedication to his family, including his mother, brothers, wife and two young daughters.

"It was like he was living in two worlds," said U.S. District Judge Maurice B. Cohill. One included a "wonderful family" and the other "the people who were purchasing these drugs."

Sadowski admitted to helping to distribute more than 40,000 doses of anabolic steroids from 2007 through March 2011. He received a total salary during that period of $493,249, prosecutors have said, and paid around $178,000 in kickbacks to a physician.

In addition to Dr. Rydze, prosecutors have said that ANEWrx sold to clinics and doctors in Florida.

Sadowski said his business was struggling, when he "saw an opportunity that could really expand the business, and we could make money.

"What I did was wrong, and I know that."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew B. Kall, from the office of the federal prosecutor from Cleveland, said Sadowski was helping doctors and patients do "stacking: the improper and illegal use of these steroids for performance-enhancing purposes."

He said steroids can lead to "serious negative health consequences" for users.

Sadowski's attorney, Tina O. Miller, argued successfully that her client is already losing his pharmacy license, and should serve the lowest sentence suggested under federal guidelines, which is 30 months in prison.

"He understands that he is going to jail," said Ms. Miller. "And despite that, he has developed a business plan" to sell, post-prison, vitamins and "nutraceuticals," which are food products with health or medical benefits.

Sadowski faces another sentencing Monday in Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on four counts including submitting false insurance claims.

Sadowski's is the first sentencing of the five people charged with crimes following an investigation centered on Dr. Rydze.

Dr. Rydze served the Steelers for two decades until 2007, when the team ended the association following investigations of his purchases of human growth hormone.

The prosecutions are being handled out of Cleveland because local law enforcement has a conflict of interest. Among Dr. Rydze's past clients is the local office of the FBI.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord First Published February 26, 2013 12:30 AM


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