The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced today that its Executive Committee approved the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods for 2009. This new List will be published online by October 1, 2008, and will go into effect on January 1, 2009.
“Today’s Executive Committee meeting was the first held following the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games, and the discussion indicated very clearly that all parties involved in the fight against doping are committed to further strengthening and coordinating their anti-doping activities under the World Anti-Doping Code,” said WADA’s President, The Hon. John Fahey. “The fight against doping is a 24-7-365 responsibility. I am pleased that despite significant progress in the fight against doping in the past few years and months, stakeholders recognize the need to take further measures to protect the health of athletes and the integrity of sport worldwide.”
The Prohibited List is one of the cornerstones of the harmonized fight against doping in sport. It specifies substances and methods prohibited in sport.
The 2009 List offers a number of changes compared to the 2008 List, including modifications in relation to specified substances in order to align the 2009 List with the more flexible sanctions set forth in the revised World Anti-Doping Code (2009 Code) to come into effect on January 1, 2009. The objective of this flexibility, which was approved by WADA’s stakeholders as part of their unanimous endorsement of the revised Code last year, is to allow for enhanced sanctions for deliberate doping offenders, and reduced sanctions for inadvertent cheaters or for athletes who can unequivocally establish that the substance involved was not intended to enhance performance.
As a result, while all prohibited methods, the classes of anabolic agents and hormones, as well as stimulants and hormone antagonists and modulators so identified on the 2009 Prohibited List maintain their status, the remainder of prohibited substances will now be considered as specified substances for the purpose of more flexible sanctions. This means that where athletes can clearly establish how a specified substance entered their body or came into their possession, and that such substance was not intended to enhance sport performance, the sanction may be reduced as low as a reprimand and no period of ineligibility.
At the same time, the use of non-specified substances should be more likely to result in a standard two-year ban for a first anti-doping rule violation, or to a ban of up to four years in cases of aggravating circumstances under the revised Code. These circumstances can include, but are not limited to, being part of a large doping scheme, an athlete having used multiple prohibited substances or a prohibited substance on multiple occasions, or an athlete engaging in deceptive or obstructing conduct to avoid the detection or adjudication of an anti-doping rule violation. Aggravating circumstances also include situations in which a normal individual would be likely to benefit from the performance-enhancing effects of the anti-doping rule violation beyond the otherwise applicable period of ineligibility.
“Specified substances, as defined in the revised Code, are not necessarily less serious agents for purposes of doping than other prohibited substances,” said WADA’s President. “For that reason, an athlete who does not meet the reduction criteria could receive up to a four-year period of ineligibility in case of aggravating circumstances. However, there is a greater likelihood that specified substances, as opposed to non-specified substances, could be susceptible to a credible, non-doping explanation.”
Major Changes for 2009
In order to determine which stimulants (prohibited in-competition only) should be classified as specified or non-specified in the 2009 List, the international experts serving on WADA’s scientific committees carefully considered various parameters, including the potential of these stimulants to enhance performance in sport, their risk to health, their general use in medicinal products, their legitimate market availability, their illicit use, their legal/controlled status in various countries, their history and potential of abuse in sport, their potential of addiction, the likelihood of approval for therapeutic use, their pharmacology, and other scientific elements, as well as the likelihood of a non-doping explanation.
As a result of this process and of the broad consultation traditionally carried out as part of the annual preparation of the List, stimulants identified as non-specified substances in the 2009 List (and therefore subject to a two-year sanction in the absence of aggravating or attenuating circumstances) include for example amphetamine, cocaine, bromantan and modafinil.
Other noteworthy amendments to the List include the removal from the 2009 List of alpha reductase inhibitors, a class of masking agents which used to be banned in- and out-of-competition. These substances have been rendered ineffective as masking agents of steroids through close consideration of steroid profiles by anti-doping laboratories.
As part of the development by WADA of the Athlete Passport concept—the objective of which is to monitor an athlete’s biological parameters over time in order to detect abnormal variations that could indicate potential doping—and following research and advances in anti-doping science, WADA accredited laboratories are now able to and required to systematically and closely consider steroid profiles in urine as part of the doping control process, which allows them to circumvent the masking agent properties of alpha reductase inhibitors.
“Refining the List is an important responsibility in WADA’s work and one of the key tools in the harmonization of the global fight against doping in sport,” said Mr Fahey. “It is an elaborate process involving the solicitation of input from all of our stakeholders so that changes are founded on expanding scientific knowledge and understanding of doping practices and trends. The 2009 List reflects this expanding knowledge, as well as advances in anti-doping science and the recognition by WADA stakeholders of the importance of further harmonization of the fight against doping through the revised Code and International Standards.”
WADA assumed full responsibility for the List following implementation of the Code and the associated International Standards in 2004. The List is developed every year through a highly consultative consultation process, beginning with the circulation of a draft List among more than 1,700 stakeholders for comment. The comments received are processed by WADA’s List Committee, who then presents its conclusions to WADA’s Health, Medical and Research Committee, who in turn submits its final recommendations to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee, WADA’s ultimate policy-making body, reviews and determines the List for the following year at its annual September meeting.
As is traditionally the case at its September meeting, WADA’s Executive Committee also approved scientific research projects for funding.
“Together with education and investigations, detection through scientific developments and intelligent testing is one of the most important weapons in the fight against doping in sport,” noted Mr Fahey. “Recent developments in this area, such as the implementation of detection means for CERA at this year’s Tour de France, have shown that by anticipating doping trends and by closely cooperating with researchers and pharmaceutical companies, WADA and the anti-doping community are making significant leaps in the science of detection.”
WADA’s scientific research grant program, one of the Agency’s chief priorities, is dedicated to developing new and improved means for detecting performance-enhancing substances and methods.
WADA will commit US$6.5 million—approximately a quarter of its total budget—to scientific research as part of its 2008 research grant program. This will bring the total amount of grants provided by the Agency to scientific research since 2001 to approximately US$44 million. A record number of proposals (75) were received this year from 24 countries, and 30 were selected for funding by the Executive Committee. These projects will help advance anti-doping research in such areas as the detection of blood manipulations, the development of techniques to detect gene manipulation, the development of new global technologies of detection, and the implementation of further means for detecting a number of substances including human growth hormone and various forms of erythropoietin.
New Delhi Laboratory Accreditation
The Executive Committee approved the accreditation of a new laboratory in New Delhi, India. The National Dope Testing Laboratory has successfully completed the requirements of the WADA accreditation process monitored by the Agency’s Laboratory Working Committee. The New Delhi laboratory thus becomes the 34th WADA accredited laboratory in the world. (Click here for the list of WADA accredited laboratories.)
In addition, the Executive Committee approved a new International Standard and two revised International Standards. The purpose of the International Standards is to harmonize technical aspects in the fight against doping in sport. Current International Standards include the Prohibited List, the International Standard for Laboratories, the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemption, and the International Standard for Testing. These are mandatory for Code signatories.
Members approved revised versions of the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemption and the International Standard for Laboratories, which include a number of technical amendments in order to harmonize their provisions with the revised Code and the 2009 List. These two revised Standards will go into effect on January 1, 2009
The Executive Committee also approved the new International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information, which will also go into effect on January 1, 2009. However, the Executive Committee asked WADA’s management to continue its discussions with European governments to see whether any further improvements might be made.
This Standard will ensure that all relevant parties involved in anti-doping in sport apply a minimum suitable privacy protection in relation to the collection and use of athletes’ personal data—as it relates to whereabouts, doping controls and therapeutic use exemptions. WADA led an extensive consultation process among stakeholders, legal experts, international organizations, and the commissions on privacy protection from several countries, and released two draft versions for feedback in order to develop the final version approved today by the Executive Committee.
The last International Standard— the revised International Standard for Testing—was approved by the Executive Committee at its May 2008 meeting and will go into effect on January 1, 2009, at the same time as the revised Code and the other new or revised International Standards.
“The implementation of the revised World Anti-Doping Code and International Standards will further strengthen global anti-doping rules for the benefit of the clean athletes” said WADA’s Director General David Howman. “Thanks to the experience accumulated by the anti-doping community since these rules first came into effect in 2004, and thanks to the very broad consultation process we went through, soliciting input from all stakeholders and interested parties, these revisions will help further solidify technical aspects of anti-doping programs while rigorously protecting athletes’ rights. We are looking forward to their implementation by stakeholders by January 1, 2009. ”
The next meeting of WADA’s Executive Committee will be held on November 22, 2008, in Montreal. WADA’s Foundation Board, the Agency’s supreme decision-making body, will meet the following day.