To tighten the noose around drug cheats and be one step ahead of them, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has signed a long-term agreement with pharma major GlaxoSmithKline in order to create detection methods for banned drugs that have performing enhancing potential.
The historic partnership, was officially ratified in London on June 21, will see GSK supply WADA with confidential information about medicines in early stage development that could be abused by athletes once they are licensed for appropriate patient use, a WADA release said from Montreal.
It covers all new medicines being developed by GSK and builds on the company's role as the Official Laboratory Services provider for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Under the new agreement, medicines in development will be reviewed by GSK scientists specifically to identify substances with a probable or high risk of abuse in sport.
They would look for any similarity to the pharmacological characteristics of existing performance enhancing substances and assess how they work in the human body. This would include stimulatory effects or improved physical endurance," the release said.
"Any substances found to have performance-enhancing characteristics will be highlighted to WADA and confidential scientific data relating to them will be transferred by the company so they can begin work on detection methods," it added.
WADA president John Fahey is happy that the deal would help the agency stay one step ahead of the dope cheats. "Our work with the pharmaceutical industry is critical to staying one step ahead of the dopers, who have an ever increasing level of scientific expertise. We are delighted to be entering into this partnership with GSK as it will play a significant role in helping WADA achieve its mission of a doping free sporting culture," Fahey said.
Currently, WADA mostly has access to scientific information relating to medicines which have been licensed.
Although all medicines have been researched and produced to deliver health benefits for patients, there have been examples of illegitimate use by a minority of athletes seeking advantage in sport, according to WADA.