DETECTION OF BANNED DRUGS IS NOT AN EXACT PROCEDURE
Audran, M. (2002). Methodologies used to screen for doping agents. Annales Pharmaceutiques Francaises, 60, 310-313.
"The detection of doping agents is a major challenge due both to the large number of compounds involved, their structural diversity, and to the sensitivity thresholds required in a small volume of urine. In addition, laboratories are requested to deliver their reports within a short delay. Mass spectrometry "ion trap" and "high-resolution" methods can be used to screen for xenobiotics at the required sensitivity levels. The search for endogenous substances used as doping agents is more complex: here the difference between physiological production and exogenous input must be recognized. Isotopic mass spectrometry appears to provide a means of resolving this problem for compounds with a low molecular mass such as steroids. Search for peptide hormones is limited to erythropoietin, with the exception of quantification procedures for human gonadotropin chorionic hormone. Direct urine screening is however a long costly operation which does not always produce interpretable results. Indirect detection using hematological and biochemical parameters can only provide presumptive proof".
Implication. Contrary to the claims of the anti-doping-in-sport agency, testing for banned substances is not as easy or exact as the public is led to believe. The rules of anti-doping do not allow questioning the assumptions or procedures used for testing, which seems to be a way of protecting the questionable techniques. Athletes could be banned from sport participation and branded cheats when the positive test results could well be caused by the agency's unreliable procedures.
Return to Table of Contents for this issue.