The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) notes the decision of Swiss doping control security bottle manufacturer Berlinger Special AG to withdraw from the doping control business with immediate effect and makes the following statement:
On 2 March, WADA was advised by Berlinger that feedback from one of its customers had raised possible concerns over the integrity of some of its bottles and that it had initiated an examination. Specifically, the customer reported that a limited number of bottles had cracked when frozen. This cracking was noticed mainly in the ‘BEREG-KIT Geneva’ model, the production of which Berlinger had discontinued due to reports of improper closing in January 2018; and, to a much lesser extent, in the latest batch of the ‘BEREG-KIT’ model.
WADA immediately sought to collect more information from Berlinger as to the specifics and scale of the alleged integrity issues in order to ensure an effective and quick solution was developed by Berlinger for its clients that served the global anti-doping program. With the same intention, WADA also reached out to a sampling of the accredited laboratories and the Institute of National Anti-Doping Organizations (iNADO) to determine whether the laboratories or National Anti-Doping Organizations had experienced any such incidences. To the best of WADA’s understanding, no others have experienced a similar issue to date.
WADA will continue gathering information from Berlinger and its customers in order to propose solutions that will maintain the integrity of the doping control process. In parallel, WADA is actively exploring alternative sources of sample collection kits and, to that end, is also collaborating with the iNADO and a number of Anti-Doping Organizations (ADOs).
Earlier today, WADA wrote to all ADOs, accredited laboratories and sample collection agencies, including the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, to update them on the situation and to provide detailed guidance to secure the integrity of the doping control process.
WADA wishes to reassure athletes, anti-doping organizations and other stakeholders that it remains resolutely committed to following up with Berlinger and affected stakeholders as necessary until the matter is resolved and that it will keep stakeholders updated along the way.
It should be noted that manufacturers of security bottles, such as Berlinger, are responsible for the development, testing, distribution and monitoring of the equipment they produce and provide to their customers. It is up to each ADO to decide which sample collection equipment it uses provided it meets the requirements of Article 6.3.4 of WADA’s International Standard for Testing and Investigations (ISTI).