Technische Universität München

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First appearance

In the year 1967 the International Olympic Committee (IOC) set up the Medical Commission aiming to organize and supervise the fight against doping in sports. At that time the Medical Commission published its first list of prohibited substances in sport containing stimulants and narcotics only. During the following years the list was expanded. In 1974 synthetic anabolic androgenic steroids were added and one decade later testosterone and caffeine, too. In 1988 blood doping was banned and the Prohibited List was supplemented with diuretics and beta-blockers. One year later peptide hormones were added. Since 1993 beta-2 agonists have been considered as doping agents. However, not only the Prohibited List of the IOC Medical Commission was binding. Sport federations created their own lists of prohibited methods and substances.

The progress of the List

In order to unify the system, the IOC, the International Federations and the National Olympic Committees reached an agreement concerning unification of different prohibited lists in 1994.
Lists being published by the IOC during successive Olympic Games contained only prohibited groups with examples of banned substances with annotation :”… and other similar substances”. Therefore many experts in anti-doping, but also sportsmen, coaches and activists have been demanding the creation of complete lists of substances prohibited for sportsmen for years. They claimed that it should be regularly updated, thus avoiding the controversies related to anti-doping tests. This particular problem showed up during the Olympic Games in Atlanta. In urine from five sportsmen from Russia and Lithuania bromantan was detected, which is an immunostimulatory and antioxidative agent produced in the USSR for soldiers in order to possibly shorten the time of biological recovery after strong physical effort. In the beginning of the competition, sportsmen being proved to use bromantan (two medalists, amongst others), were disqualified. Afterwards they were acquitted because the agent was not on the list of prohibited substances. The IOC Medical Commission added bromantan to the Prohibited List in January 1997, and during the following Classic Skiing World Championships the Russian sportswoman Lubow Jegorowa, who won the 5 km classic style running competition, was disqualified because of doping.

WADA and the List

From 1st January 2004 the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) took over the role of the main coordinator of the world anti-doping system from the IOC Medical Commission. Being mandated by the World Anti-Doping Code, WADA since then is responsible for the preparation and publication of the List. The Prohibited List is regularly updated, and numerous consultations of representatives from the sports and the medical world precede all changes. Facilitating annual publications of the Prohibited List, amended by examples of banned substances, WADA partially fulfills the necessity of publishing an updated comprehensive Prohibited List. However, the open character allows a rapid reaction if sportsmen aim to use new pharmacological substances for doping purposes. For example the American laboratory BALCO produced tetrahydrogestrinone (THG) only for sportsmen’s “needs”. The immediate reaction from WADA was to put THG among the prohibited substances in sport.

The World Anti Doping Code states, that a substance shall be included in the  Prohibited List, if WADA determines that the substance or method meets any two of the following three criteria:
  • Presence of any medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect or experience that the substance or method, alone or in combination with other substances or methods, has the potential to enhance or enhances sport performance;
  • Presence of any medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect, or experience that the use of the substance or method represents an actual or potential health risk to the Athlete;
  • The use of the substance or method violates the spirit of sport described in the Introduction of the Code.

Furthermore, a substance or method shall be included on the Prohibited List if WADA determines that there is medical or other scientific evidence, pharmacological effect or experience that the substance or method has the potential to mask the use of other Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Methods.

Structure of the List

Currently, substances and methods on the Prohibited List are classified by categories and divided into four groups:

  • Substances and methods prohibited at all times (in- and out-of-competition)
    S1. Anabolic agents
    S2. Hormones and related substances
    S3. Beta-2 agonists
    S4. Hormone antagonists and modulators
    S5. Diuretics and other masking agents
    M1. Enhancement of oxygen transfer
    M2. Chemical and physical manipulation
    M3. Gene doping  
  • Substances and methods prohibited in-competition            
    S6. Stimulants
    S7. Narcotics
    S8. Cannabinoids
    S9. Glucocorticosteroids  
  • Substances prohibited in particular sports
    P1. Alcohol
    P2. Beta-blockers   
  • Specified substances

It is worth mentioning that there is no quantitative information available concerning banned substances on the Prohibited List. E.g. in the case of some substances there are no allowed threshold concentrations (e.g.: morphine and carboxytetrahydrocannabinol), below which they may not be considered as positive anti-doping result. Rather, this information is included in Technical Documents, which are part of the International Standards for Laboratories and contain guidelines in particular technical cases.