Medications & Doping

WMA Rights and Responsibilities brochure.

Are You On Drugs?

Well, to be more specific, are you taking any medications that contain items on the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List? For my long term asthma condition I have taken medication containing items on the Prohibited List. If I were drug tested and prohibited items found in my sample, I could have faced a range of serious penalties.

The world sporting bodies certainly want athletes continuing to take medication where it is necessary for a medical condition. So there is a process where you can apply to have your use of medication approved provided that your doctor can establish it is essential to treat your particular medical condition and where you obtain no competitive advantage. This process is called a Therapeutic Use Exemption or TUE for short and it is something I applied for and had accepted a few years ago. All I need do is take a copy of the approved TUE to a championship where drug testing may apply and I would have no worries if I were actually selected for a drug test.

How do you know what drugs are on the Prohibited List? Some of the items are incomprehensible to most of us such as one of the banned anabolic steroids called esoxymethyltestosterone (17α-methyl-5α-androst-2-en-17β-ol).Your doctor can advise you if they have access to the latest Prohibited List (remember that the list changes each calendar year).

Another useful source is on the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) website which has an athlete guide called Check your substances. This tells you the commercial names of common medications and whether the

  • Product is permitted for use in sport
  • Product is prohibited from use in sport
  • Product’s use is subject to certain conditions
  • Product is permitted for use in sport for females only

This list is also useful because some off-the-shelf medications which you may only use for temporary conditions (e.g. cold and flu, sinus) also contain banned substances which may show up in drug test results.

The ASADA site also has a guide on what is actually involved with a drug test should you be selected to have one. This is in a document called “Athlete Testing Guide” which is designed to help athletes understand what will happen during and after a testing session and their rights and responsibilities in relation to testing.

If your doctor or other expert advice has determined that a TUE will be required, TUE applications may be downloaded from the World Masters Athletics website. The next step is to take it to your doctor to fill in the medical details required. The completed TUE should then be mailed to:
Dr Roger Parrish
Oceania Masters Athletics – Medical officer
17 Brentwood Avenue, Figtree Heights, NSW 2525
Telephone (02) 4275 1800 work) or (02) 4228 6260

Dr Parrish is the designated Oceania medical officer with whom medical matters and TUE issues may be discussed. His email address is roger@parag.com.au

The final and important message to take away is to ensure you have a TUE covering any banned substance that may show up in your doping-control test results. Remember, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. So don’t delay, start making enquiries NOW.

Don Quinn