Large drug companies are helping officials at the Winter Olympics with anti-doping efforts, the Associated Press reports.
A growing number of athletes are trying to boost their performance by using experimental drugs, many of which were developed in pharmaceutical research labs. Amgen, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche are among the companies that are sharing confidential information with anti-doping officials about those drugs, according to the AP.
“If you want to predict the future of doping it’s essential that you have collaborations with the pharmas,” said Olivier Rabin, Science Director of the World Anti-Doping Authority (WADA), which oversees the testing standards for the Olympics.
In 2011, WADA signed an agreement with the Biotech Industry Organization, which represents most biotech drugmakers. The industry agreed to voluntarily share early information about drugs they are developing that could be used to increase endurance, build muscle or assist in recovery.
One experimental drug developed by GlaxoSmithKline never made it out of the lab. But last year, five professional cyclists were caught using the substance, despite warnings from WADA about its toxic side effects. Many doping products used by athletes are mixed in overseas labs, the article notes.
”A lot of what dopers are looking for is under the radar. They’re looking for drugs that were terminated and that enforcement agencies don’t know about yet,” Mark Luttman, who coordinates Glaxo’s anti-doping program with WADA, told the AP. In 2012, the company provided a $30 million lab for testing officials at the London Summer Olympics, the first time a private sponsor funded such a project at the Olympics.