The World Anti-Doping Agency has remarked it is exploring a complete ban on corticosteroids.
WADA director general Olivier Niggli said at the Tackling Doping in Sport conference in London that the status quo was an "unsatisfactory situation."
Niggli added a group of experts will now look into whether corticosteroids are being abused. The WADA director general added we have set up a group to try to come up with a better proposal on how we can do that and also commented that we had hoped for a number of years that research would bring us detection methods that would distinguish the route of administration. Niggli also said the reality is that it doesn't seem too easy to come up with a method allowing us to do this and also remarked this has been dragging on for a number of years to get that research and it has not happened.
The WADA director general also said we are now at a stage we have to have another discussion. Niggli said he believes the system as it is now is not good - only the people who are being so called 'honest' about what they are doing are getting caught.
Corticosteroids that are used in anti-inflammatory medicines to treat a range of conditions are permitted out-of-competition by athletes and permitted in competition by obtaining a therapeutic use exemption (TUE).
The U.K. Anti-Doping Agency has said in the past that it wants corticosteroids to be outlawed. UK Anti-Doping chief executive Nicole Sapstead had said there is always the risk that when a substance is not banned that someone is trying to gain advantage.
Sapstead welcomed the news and said the World Anti-Doping Agency is in a fantastic position to carry that piece of research forward. The UK Anti-Doping chief executive also remarked she is not party to how corticosteroids are used other than for UK athletes and therefore they are in a great position to see it from an international perspective. Sapstead went on to remark that UK Anti-Doping had requested thrice for corticosteroids to be put on the prohibited list and said this is primarily because UKAD does not think the medical needs of athletes demanded such treatment. Sapstead added some corticosteroids are not always being administered in a way that is reflective of the actual medical needs of an individual.
Recently, corticosteroids were at the heart of controversies involving former Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins. Wiggins made use of Triamcinolone, a corticosteroid before three of his biggest races. It was also revealed that Team Sky doctors vetoed an application for Britain’s most decorated Olympian to take it on a fourth occasion. The British cyclist was granted therapeutic use exemptions to take the drug ahead of the 2011 and 2012 Tours de France – the latter of which he won – and the 2013 Giro d’Italia.
All Blacks rugby legend Dan Carter was also alleged to have made use of corticosteroids. The French Anti-Doping Agency is investigating Carter, alongside fellow New Zealand international Joe Rokocoko and Argentina wing Juan Imhoff, over the use of corticosteroids in last year's Top 14 rugby final where he appeared for Racing 92.
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