WADA suspends accreditation of Bloemfontein Laboratory

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has suspended the accreditation of the South African Doping Control Laboratory (Laboratory) in Bloemfontein, South Africa, for a period of up to six months. 

In September 2023, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) imposed an analytical testing restriction (ATR) on the Laboratory as it related specifically to the Gas Chromatography / Combustion / Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (GC/C/IRMS) analytical method. 

In February 2024, WADA received a recommendation from the Laboratory Expert Advisory Group (Lab EAG) to suspend the WADA accreditation of the Laboratory due to multiple non-conformities with the International Standard for Laboratories, including non-conformities with Technical Documents and the continued ATR, among other issues. 

The Laboratory accepted the recommendation for suspension which was approved by the Chair of the WADA Executive Committee. This process is now complete. 

The suspension, which took effect on 1 March 2024, prohibits the Laboratory from carrying out any anti-doping activities, including analyses of urine and blood samples, with the exception of analysis related to the Athlete Biological Passport hematological module. During the period of suspension, samples that have not yet been analyzed by the Laboratory, samples currently undergoing a confirmation procedure, and any samples for which an Adverse Analytical Finding has been reported, must be securely transported to another WADA-accredited laboratory. This is in order to ensure continued high-quality sample analysis, which also helps preserve athletes’ confidence in this process and the wider anti-doping system.  

During the period of suspension, the Laboratory shall address all non-conformities identified by the Lab EAG or WADA in any request for corrective action or otherwise, as well as any additional non-conformities identified by any follow up WADA site visit during the suspension period. If the Laboratory satisfies the Lab EAG in meeting these requirements, it may apply for reinstatement prior to the expiry of the six-month suspension period. Should the Laboratory not address the non-conformities by the end of the six-month suspension period, WADA may extend the suspension for up to an additional six months. 

In accordance with the ISL, WADA is responsible for accrediting and re-accrediting anti-doping laboratories, thereby ensuring that they maintain the highest quality standards. This monitoring process is conducted in conjunction with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) assessment by independent national accreditation bodies that are full members of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC).