WADA approves 2012 Prohibited List and new scientific research funding

Submitted by WADA on 21 September 2011 - 3:25pm

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has approved the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods for 2012 at its Executive Committee Meeting hosted by the IOC in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The new List will be made official and published by October 1, and will take effect on January 1, 2012.

As one of the cornerstones in the global fight against doping, the List specifies substances and methods prohibited in sport, and it is a mandatory document for all organizations that have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code.

The annual revision of the List is a highly-consultative process facilitated by WADA, and begins with circulation of a draft List amongst its stakeholders. Comments are considered by WADA’s List Expert Group, which then presents its conclusions to WADA’s Health, Medical and Research Committee.

Recommendations are then made to WADA’s Executive Committee, which discusses the proposals before making a final decision at its September meeting. (Click here for more information on the process for revising the List.)

“Keeping abreast of scientific advances and taking on board recommendations from our stakeholders is a key part of WADA’s role when updating the List, which is required to happen on an annual basis due to our expanding knowledge of doping,” said WADA President John Fahey.

“The revision process has been developed and refined over the eight years that WADA has been responsible for the List, and we are confident that we have the necessary expert contributions and checks and balances within the process to make it as comprehensive and robust as possible.

“WADA’s thanks once again go to all the experts and stakeholders whose contributions have enabled us to introduce changes that give clarity to the sports world and also make it harder for athletes to cheat.”

Formoterol added as an exception to beta-2 agonists

One of the most significant changes to the 2012 List is the removal of formoterol from ‘Section 3 Beta-2 Agonists’ of the List when taken by inhalation at therapeutic doses.

Taking into account recent research results and concerns expressed by members of the sports community, inhaled formoterol at therapeutic doses is no longer prohibited.

The List prohibits the administration of all beta-2 agonists except salbutamol (maximum 1600 micrograms over 24 hours), salmeterol when taken by inhalation, and now formoterol (maximum 36 micrograms taken over 24 hours).

The issue of beta-2 agonists will continue to be a focus of WADA’s research activity in order to ensure that the administration of large doses of these substances is prevented and prohibited, but that the appropriate care and treatment of asthmatic athletes is facilitated.

Other matters discussed to increase efficiency in anti-doping programmes include:

  • Blood Collection Policy

Following requests from stakeholders for additional guidance on what constitutes best practice for testing programs, WADA has advised that there needs to be more emphasis on the collection of blood samples.

Only 4% of all doping control samples collected in 2010 was for blood, and most of these were for passport programs.

This has been a key concern for WADA since an Anti-Doping Organization (ADO) ought to collect blood as it cannot purport to have an effective program in place if there is a loophole in its testing program leaving for possible abuse of substances and methods that cannot be detected in urine analysis such as human Growth Hormone and blood transfusions.

A recommendation was therefore made to the Executive Committee that all ADOs ensure that not less than 10% of all samples collected are blood specimens.

This recommendation was accepted by the Executive Committee which recognized that by increasing blood collection an ADO can focus resources in a targeted and intelligent fashion, and put quality testing ahead of quantity.

The new 10% directive will also have a significant deterrence benefit, regardless of the particular risks associated with the ADOs’ sports.

  • Paperless Project

A presentation was made to the Executive Committee on research WADA has undertaken into the traditional paper and carbon-copy doping control process.

The research is designed to assess the benefits of moving away from the traditional paper-based collection of data to a more streamlined, harmonized and ‘real time’ process supported by established technology.

A paperless approach would reduce the possibility of human error and increase efficiencies, in particular with regard to creating an immediate link with the Anti-Doping Administration & Management System (ADAMS).

The Executive Committee asked WADA to pursue development of this project and to report further advancement at the next meeting in November.

  • Science research funding

WADA’s September meeting is also the occasion at which the Executive Committee approves scientific research projects seeking funding.

In 2011, 82 projects from four continents were submitted to WADA for funding, all of which underwent a scientific review process in July and August by independent expert panels.

Following this process, 35 have been recommended for priority funding and will undergo further ethical review by the end of the year.

Approximately US$4.5m was approved by the Executive Committee for research projects in 2012, which brings WADA’s total commitment to scientific research grants since 2001 to more than US$58m.

“WADA has always had a strong commitment to funding science research projects as we see this as a key area in the fight against doping in sport,” said John Fahey.

“It is no secret that doping cheats are becoming more and more sophisticated, so we need to invest in cutting-edge science that will allow WADA and the anti-doping community to develop detection techniques that keep up with these developments.

“Out funding has led to detection breakthroughs in the past and we will continue to support science in every way we can.”

Next meetings

The Executive Committee will hold its next meeting on November 19, 2011, in Montreal. The Foundation Board will meet the following day.