1st October 2015

UKAD/USADA ‘disappointed’ by lack of thyroid medication ban

UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) are understood to be disappointed by the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision not to include thyroid medication on its 2016 Prohibited List, according to media reports. Kara Goucher and Galen Rupp, two Nike Oregon Project athletes, were revealed to be taking thyroid medication in a ‘Catch Me If You Can’ BBC Panorama programme, broadcast in June. Alberto Salazar, Head Coach at the Nike Oregon Project, has said that both athletes suffer from the same medical condition.

UKAD recommended that WADA ban use of thyroid medication without a legitimate therapeutic use exemption (TUE) in April, after UK athlete Jo Pavey claimed that some athletes were using it in an attempt to enhance performance. It is understood that it can increase metabolism, so can be used as a weight loss tool.

UKAD said it was “disappointed” by WADA’s decision. “UKAD formed the view, along with a number of other national anti-doping organisations, that thyroid medication, if used without a genuine medical need, is harmful to health”, UKAD CEO Nicole Sapstead told the BBC. “It can be used in a manner which is contrary to the spirit of sport and, in some circumstances, can be considered performance enhancing. This is third year that UKAD have submitted a proposal for thyroid medication to be added to the prohibited list. UKAD will continue to work with global partners and consider our next steps in due course.”

USADA has also lobbied for thyroid medication to be included on the Prohibited List, reports the Wall Street Journal. “All the experts in the field came to the conclusion that no, there is no way to believe that thyroid hormone could be performance enhancing”, Dr. Olivier Rabin, WADA’s Senior Director, Science, told the newspaper.

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