>Testopel®, an FDA-approved testosterone replacement therapy product marketed by Slate Pharmaceuticals, Inc. of Durham, North Carolina, announced today that it has entered into a sponsorship agreement with professional golfer Doug Barron.
Barron, a long-time PGA Tour veteran from Memphis, Tennessee, is perhaps best known for being the first and only player in professional golf to be suspended for doping under the PGA Tour’s “Anti-Doping” policy.
Barron’s offense was taking a testosterone replacement medication prescribed to him by his medical doctors after blood tests revealed that he suffers from hypogonadism, a common but little understood medical condition informally called Low T. Caused by a reduction in circulating levels of the hormone testosterone, Low T is treatable with testosterone replacement medication designed to restore the individual’s testosterone to a level within the range normally found in men who do not suffer from Low T.
Barron filed a lawsuit charging that the PGA Tour had dishonestly labeled him as a doper and a cheater for doing nothing more than “taking medications prescribed for him by his medical doctors for perfectly normal and legitimate medical reasons.” His suit charged that the PGA Tour made knowingly false, misleading and defamatory statements about him “with reckless disregard for the entire truth of the subject matter.”
The PGA Tour subsequently granted Barron the Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) for testosterone replacement therapy that it previously had denied to him. Neither side will comment about the lawsuit.
“Suspending Doug Barron for doping is dopey,” Robert S. Whitehead, President & CEO of Slate Pharmaceuticals, Inc., said at the time of Barron’s suspension. “The PGA Tour is creating the totally erroneous impression that Doug Barron is to golf what Mark McGwire is to baseball — it’s totally irresponsible.”
In coming to Barron’s defense at the time of his wrongful suspension, Slate Pharmaceuticals and its CEO Whitehead made it clear that they had no connection with Barron, had never met him or spoken with him or his doctors, and that Barron had never even used the company’s testosterone replacement therapy product, Testopel®.
“The reason that I spoke out on this matter at the time, and the reason we are taking this unusual step of sponsoring a professional athlete who has had such a label unjustly hanged upon him,” said CEO Whitehead, “is that by its ill-advised action the PGA Tour made an unfortunate contribution to medical ignorance and harmed efforts to improve men’s health. There are many misconceptions about testosterone replacement therapy that have no scientific basis. Perpetuating these misconceptions keeps men who might need treatment from seeking the medical care that they need.”
“Doug Barron’s only offense was being the innocent victim of other people’s ignorance,” said Whitehead. “We look forward to this relationship with him.”
No details of Testopel®’s sponsorship of Doug Barron were made public.
“I appreciate the fact that the people who market Testopel® saw my suspension as an injustice and stood up and spoke out about it, even though their product was not even the one I was using,” said Doug Barron. “I look forward to working closely with Testopel® to help educate the public about just how common Low T is and how easily treatable it is. I believe that together we are going to make an important contribution to the cause of men’s health. I intend to make this a cause.”