WADA President praises Therapeutic Use Exemption physicians at Symposium in South Korea

tue symposium 2023

Today, the President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Witold Bańka, lauded the efforts of physicians, administrators and other experts from across the anti-doping community in upholding the system of Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs) for the benefit of athletes worldwide. He did so during his address to participants at WADA’s 2023 TUE Symposium in Incheon, South Korea.

In aligning with the theme of this year’s Symposium, ‘Balancing Medical Care with Fair Play’, Mr. Bańka highlighted the importance of the thousands of volunteers around the world whose commitment to the TUE process and clean sport in general plays a critical role in equalizing the playing field and ensuring the health of all athletes.

Mr. Bańka said: “Therapeutic Use Exemptions are a critical part of the global anti-doping system, allowing athletes with medical conditions to be able to compete in high-level sport. Without the selfless commitment from physicians, TUE managers and administrators from around the world, we simply would not be able to operate the TUE process.

“The TUE process has come a long way in the past few years, but there is always room for improvement. It is with this Symposium, and other events like it, that we continue to develop the system and ensure consistent progress. Active participation and the critical arguments and discussions that take place among delegates during the Symposium are invaluable. Through continued collaboration and by embracing the diversity of the anti-doping community, we can continue to raise the game for athletes around the world.”

Mr. Bańka’s speech kicked off Day 2 of the TUE Symposium in Incheon. Graciously co-hosted by the Korea Anti-Doping Agency (KADA), the Symposium has attracted more than 250 participants, including physicians and administrators. WADA’s 2023 TUE Symposium marks the fifth edition of the event and is the first since the 2017 edition which was held in Helsinki, Finland. It is also the first time the Symposium has been held in Asia.

This year, WADA’s TUE Symposium received accreditation for physicians interested in earning continual medical education (CME) credits, representing an added benefit for the participants attending the event.

Dr. Alan Vernec, WADA’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “It has been a pleasure to welcome physicians, administrators and other experts from across the world to this year’s TUE Symposium. I would like to thank Dr. Young-Hee Lee, the President of the Korea Anti-Doping Agency and his team for their hospitality and tireless efforts in helping WADA organize this enriching and educational event.

“There have been some changes to the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions since the last Symposium in 2017, so it was important to discuss and understand those modifications and continuously look to improve the system.  Above all, this event represents an opportunity to listen to one another, strengthen existing connections, create new ones and reflect on our role as leaders within the anti-doping movement.”

More about the Symposium

The TUE Symposium convened Committee members and other physicians from Anti-Doping organizations and those that manage TUEs from National Anti-Doping Organizations, International Federations, Major Event Organizations and other international sports organizations from around the globe to discuss medical conditions and the TUE process.

One of the primary objectives of the TUE Symposium is to continue to harmonize the approach to TUEs, which ensures that athletes with legitimate medical conditions may participate in sport despite their need for a medication or treatment that may otherwise be prohibited. The Symposium consisted of interactive discussions on medical cases, medico-legal issues, and retroactive TUEs. Participants also discussed challenges regarding global harmonization of practices, with the goal of ensuring that fairness is maintained; and, that athletes are afforded similar opportunities, regardless of their sport, geographical location or specific medical issues.

A complete breakdown of the topics covered throughout the various sessions can be found by in the Symposium program.