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Archive for  December 2014

Wednesday 31, Dec 2014

Illicit Drug Sales Fueled By Smartphones And Social Media

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Illicit drug sales fueled by smartphones and social

According to Britain’s drugs watchdog, criminal gangs are harnessing smartphones and social media to send illegal sales of potentially dangerous slimming tablets, sleeping pills, and Viagra soaring.

A combination of smartphones allowing easy access to the internet to people and ease of promotion via social media has allowed suppliers of illegal drugs to target in a more effective way, said the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

This year, the MHRA has targeted internet operations of gangs for the first time. It has removed 18,671 YouTube videos that were directing viewers to websites illegally selling prescription and counterfeit drugs. Despite this, the MHRA has reported a big rise in black market sales of the banned drugs to people who may have otherwise find it difficult or embarrassing to seek assistance from their doctor. Most patients are hesitant in discussing embarrassing health conditions like obesity or sexual dysfunction with their family doctor.

The MHRA seized 1.2 million doses of illegally-supplied erectile dysfunction drugs including Viagra, 383,000 slimming products and 331,000 doses of sleeping pills, tranquillisers, and anti-depressants over the course of 2014. Other common drugs sold illegally included hair-loss treatments, cognitive enhancers and anabolic steroids used by bodybuilders.

It is believed by the World Health Organization that about half of all drugs sold are counterfeits. Many of the treatments are out-of-date or have been contaminated because of storage in unhygienic and appalling conditions.

Alistair Jeffrey, head of enforcement at the drugs watchdog, said smartphones have allowed people greater access to the internet and all of a sudden this accessibility, combined with social media, has made a significant difference in how criminals reach consumers.

Jeffrey, a former detective superintendent who previously ran the Metropolitan Police’s child abuse investigation command centre, said this is something we are looking at now in a serious way and remarked there is a phenomenal market out there. He went on to remark that raids organised by the MHRA have found drugs stored in abysmal conditions. Jeffrey added these people are not interested in sanitary conditions, they are in it for the money. He went on to remark that besides the obvious risks of taking medicines made from rat poison and other substitutes used by gangs, there are also dangers in taking medicines without proper consultation.

The head of enforcement at the drugs watchdog also said there are definitely health risks because a patient might have a condition that means they should not take a certain drug. He further said patients who are viewing the footage on YouTube are directed to other websites that purport to be officially-registered pharmacies that sell potentially dangerous and fake medicines.

Bernard Leroy, director of the International Institute of Research Against Counterfeit Medicines in Paris, said we are in a situation where internet usage is growing so fast that we are at risk of losing control. Bernard added this will become a major issue for public health in coming years and also said people are more and more focused on obtaining these medicines and people are going to the internet for them.

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Monday 29, Dec 2014

BHA Delay New Policy On Anabolic Steroids

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BHA Delay New Policy On Anabolic Steroids

British racing authorities have delayed the introduction of a new zero-tolerance policy over the use of anabolic steroids.

The British Horseracing Authority officials cited the requirement to gain clarity and consensus around some policy elements. It was remarked full implementation of the new policy on anabolic steroids is now set for March 2015. BHA said it wanted more time to work with trainers, owners, and stakeholders in particular for clarifying specific elements of the new rules and securing consensus from all affected parties.

These elements include the definition of a “responsible person” – the individual with the responsibility to ensure that a horse is not administered with any anabolic steroid at any given time. A trainer is responsible for a horse in his stable while the responsibility switches to the owner in all other cases. However, there is a grey area as horses are transferred between the two.

Jamie Stier, Director of Raceday Operation and Regulation for the BHA, said this is a complex issue. Jamie added while we are disappointed not to be in a position to launch on January 1, he has no doubt we are doing the right thing in not trying to rush its introduction. Stier added we appreciate the patience and cooperation of the parties concerned on this matter and we will work with them to find consensus prior to implementation. He added that extending our regulatory powers beyond that of horses in the care or control of licensed personnel is critical to the success of the policy and it is also critical that there is no scope for any subsequent misunderstandings about who is responsible for a horse at any point before or during its racing career.

The outstanding issues are being resolved in consultation with the Racehorse Owners Association, the National Trainers Federation, and the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

First announced in June 2014, the new policy aims to tackle an issue the BHA believes ranks among the biggest threats faced by any global sport. According to the policy, a horse must never be administered anabolic steroids at any point of time, from birth to retirement.

Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, said the National Trainers Federation fully supports the BHA’s general policy on anabolic steroids and we are keen for its implementation to run smoothly. Arnold added unfortunately some practical issues remain unresolved so we welcome the BHA’s decision to delay the introduction until these are ironed out and added that we are committed to working with all the parties involved to ensure the rules and procedures achieve the agreed objectives.

Richard Wayman, ROA Chief Executive, said the Racehorse Owners Association unequivocally supports a zero tolerance approach to anabolic steroids but we recognize application of the new policy is not without its challenges including, for example, establishing who is responsible for a horse when it is not stabled with its trainer or owner. Wayman also remarked that delaying implementation for a short period of time to allow such issues to be fully worked through is eminently sensible as the priority must be to ensure the new Rules operate as intended and also that they are fully communicated to those directly involved before they become effective.

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Saturday 27, Dec 2014

Lee Chong Wei To Lose Top Badminton Ranking

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Lee Chong Wei To Lose Top Badminton Ranking

Malaysia’s ace badminton player Lee Chong Wei, who was temporarily suspended from competition by the Badminton World Federation (BWF), will lose his top badminton ranking.

The 32-year-old Lee has held the number one ranking for the last six years with the exception of a few weeks when Chinese Olympic champion Lin Dan became the top-ranked player in 2012. Lee, as a singles player, was ranked first worldwide for 199 consecutive weeks from 21 August 2008 to 14 June 2012.

Lee is the only Malaysian shuttler to hold the number one ranking for more than a year. The most successful Malaysian Olympian in history was once described by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak as a national hero. Lee was appointed as UNICEF Malaysia’s National Ambassador in February 2009.

Last month, Lee was suspended by BWF after he tested positive for Dexamethasone, the illegal anti-inflammatory drug, at the World Championships in August. Lee has expressed confidence that he can clear his name after a hearing is conducted by the BWF into the case next year. If Lee fails with his appeal, he could be stripped of the silver medal he won at the world championships in Copenhagen in August.

According to the anti-doping regulations, the drug is illegal for use during competitions but can be used by athletes out of competition for injury rehabilitation. Lee remarked Dexamethasone was injected into him for a thigh injury treatment and the last Dexamethasone injection was administered to him in July. Lee expressed surprise how the drug was in his body after a long time and added that he used the drug after consultations with the National Sports Institute.

Lee remarked there is no way he could have administered Dexamethasone into his body by himself and added he had lost big matches before but he always bounced back without fail. After his positive test, Lee thanked fans for their support and denied using drugs to gain an advantage.

Lee could face an eventual suspension of up to two years. He however expressed concerns that he may never realize his dreams to win the World and Olympic titles if the BWF decides to suspend him for a long time. The 32-year-old veteran won silver medals at the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Olympics, as well as at the 2011, 2013 and 2014 World Championships. He has failed to win the World and Olympic titles despite reaching world and Olympic finals for a couple of times. Lee was defeated by China’s rising star Chen Long in straight sets in the final during the World Championships in late August.

Chinese world champion Chen Long will take the top spot after his World SuperSeries Finals triumph in Dubai. Chen, who is presently ranked second, collected valuable points when he won the Denmark Open in October and the SuperSeries Finals on Sunday, when he defeated Dane Hans-Kristian Vittinghus.

Long becomes the second Chinese to top the men’s singles rankings after Lin Dan. Lee ranked second and Jan Jorgensen of Denmark third while Indian K Srikanth climbed two spots to number four.

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Thursday 25, Dec 2014

Congress’ Passage Of Anabolic Steroid Bill Hailed By Supplements Industry

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Congress’ Passage Of Anabolic Steroid Bill Hailed By Supplements Industry

The Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA) of 2014 has been passed by the US Senate. The bill is now waiting for US President Barrack Obama for signature.

Passage of the DSAC was welcomed by the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the leading trade association for the dietary supplement and functional food industry. CRN said the bill will protect consumers from potentially dangerous anabolic steroids falsely marketed as dietary supplements.

CRN President & CEO Steve Mister said we are extremely grateful to Congress for passing this important piece of legislation and particularly want to acknowledge Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Reps. Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), sponsors of the bill respectively in the Senate and the House. The CRN President added we are thankful as well to other legislators and industry stakeholders who kept the serious issue of designer anabolic steroids in front of key colleagues in Congress.

Steve added passage of this bill was one of CRN’s top legislative priorities this year, as responsible member companies want to do all that they can to solve the problem of anabolic steroids illegally being sold as dietary supplements. Mister observed when criminal outliers are not stopped, not only does it put consumers at risk, but it unjustly blackens the reputation of responsible dietary supplement companies that manufacture and market legitimate, high-quality and beneficial supplements for sports nutrition and performance. He added the passage of DASCA brings a welcome protection against that.

The bill will make it easier for federal authorities to prohibit the production and ban dozens of active ingredients now used in the production of anabolic steroids and similar products.

In a statement, Sen. Orrin Hatch, one of the bill’s sponsors, said designer steroids are produced by reverse engineering existing illegal steroids and then slightly modifying their chemical composition, so the resulting product is not on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) list of controlled substances.

The DSAC bans 25 designer steroid ingredients that are already known to federal regulators from being sold over the counter by adding them to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) as Schedule III drugs. It also allows other drug ingredients that are in “chemical structure substantially similar to one or more anabolic steroids” added to the Controlled Substances Act by the DASCA to also be regulated as anabolic steroids.  The Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act will allow the Drug Enforcement Administration to quickly crack down on criminals who create new anabolic substances that closely resemble red-flagged counterparts listed.

      This bill also creates a new “temporary” scheduling process by which the Drug Enforcement Administration can issue a temporary order adding a drug or other substance to the definition of anabolic steroids if it considers it to be an anabolic steroid. The bill states the Drug Enforcement Administration may also pursue permanent rulemaking to add the drug substances to the Controlled Substances Act. The Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2014 also increases penalties for importing, exporting, manufacturing, distributing, or dispensing anabolic steroids unless the products are clearly identified as an anabolic steroid or is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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Tuesday 23, Dec 2014

Former Olympic Gold Medalist Takes Doping Plea

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Former Olympic Gold Medalist Takes Doping Plea

Former Olympic race walking gold medalist Alex Schwazer has received an eight-month suspended prison sentence under a plea bargain deal with prosecutors who were investigating him for doping.

The race walker will also pay a 6,000-euro ($7,350) fine as part of the deal. Schwazer failed an out-of-competition test before arriving at the 2012 London Olympics. The race walker, who won the 50-kilometer walk at the 2008 Beijing Games, was removed from Italy’s team before competing. He later admitted to using the blood-boosting hormone Erythropoietin (EPO). The Italian race walker who retired during the 2012 Olympics now wants to compete at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games. The 3 1/2-year ban imposed on Schwazer from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) expiring in January, 2016. His ban may be extended by CONI, which is still investigating him.

Doping is a criminal offense in Italy and Bolzano prosecutor Guido Rispoli is leading an inquiry to show that doctors and coaches were aware that the race walker was doping long before he tested positive, possibly dating to Beijing. The athlete’s lawyer, Gerhard Brandstatter, said Schwazer wants to become an anti-doping spokesman to prevent other kids from making his mistake and added with the plea bargain Alex has already turned the page so to speak and now we’re waiting to close the case with the sports authorities.

CONI’s anti-doping court is also expected to judge Schwazer’s ex-girlfriend and former figure skating world champion Carolina Kostner on whether or not she assisted in covering up Schwazer’s use of banned drugs by helping him avoid a test. A ban of four years and three months has been requested for Kostner by Schwazer’s use of banned drugs by CONI’s anti-doping prosecutor.

In June this year, Kostner, the reigning Olympic and World bronze medalist, said she would sit out the 2014-15 season. In the past, Kostner has remarked if she had knew Alex was doping she would have convinced him to confess, for his own health and added being accused of aiding him is intolerable for her. She went on to remark that it is strange to find out how anti-doping authorities could seek a heavier ban for her compared to so many athletes banned for doping. A long ban on the 27-year-old Kostner could rule her out of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and may end her career.

Carolina Kostner has also won two silvers and three bronzes at the worlds, and is a five-time European champion. It is not clear as of now whether she could be banned retroactively and stripped of medals. CONI president Giovanni Malago expressed sympathy for Kostner. A CONI ban would likely prevent Kostner from performing in shows supported by national or international sports federations.

The skating champion has acknowledged accompanying Schwazer on a visit to Lance Armstrong’s banned sports doctor, Michele Ferrari, in 2010. According to published reports of Kostner’s testimony to prosecutors in Bolzano, Kostner admitted to lying to inspectors from the World Anti-Doping Agency who visited her home in Germany looking for Schwazer on July 30, 2012.

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Sunday 21, Dec 2014

Four-Year Sanction On US Track & Field Athlete

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Four-Year Sanction On US Track & Field Athlete

Mohamed “Mo” Trafeh, a U.S. athlete in the sport of track & field, has received a doping sanction for four years by an independent Arbitrator from the American Arbitration Association, North American Court of Arbitration for Sport Panel (AAA), according to an announcement by the United States Anti-Doping Agency.

The AAA arbitrator found Trafeh guilty of committing multiple anti-doping rule violations, including repeated use and possession of Erythropoietin (EPO) and evading sample collection. The multiple violations and other conduct of Trafeh were considered by the arbitrator as aggravating circumstances. The Arbitrator determined that in accordance with the rules of the World-Anti Doping Code, Trafeh must receive a 4-year period of ineligibility as well as a loss of results which includes a U.S. 15K National Championship, U.S. Half Marathon Championship and a record-setting U.S. 25k National Championship.

Erythropoietin is a synthetic hormone that is used for stimulating the production of red blood cells in the body. This hormone has the ability to increase transportation of oxygen in the body and improve aerobic capacity. EPO, belonging to the class of Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, and Related Substances, is a prohibited substance. The anti-doping violations committed by Trafeh were in violation of anti-doping rules including the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) Anti-Doping Rules, both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (Code) and the World Anti-Doping Agency Prohibited List.

USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart remarked this decision by the independent Arbitrator shows the importance of non-analytical cases in the effort to protect clean athletes. Tygart added investigations along with education and testing are a critical component of the mission to ensure that those who defraud their competitors with the use of performance-enhancing drugs and attempt to evade testing to avoid getting caught, don’t get away with it.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency presented evidence during the arbitration hearing to the independent Arbitrator including testimony from several witnesses under oath as well as other documentary evidence. The arbitrator, after considering all the evidence presented, confirmed that the evidence proved that Trafeh purchased Erythropoietin and transported it into the United States and that he had used the blood-boosting drug since at least January 2012. The arbitrator also remarked Trafeh knowingly submitted false whereabouts information in an attempted ruse to both avoid testing and the consequences of an unsuccessful test attempt because of his failure to submit accurate whereabouts information to the United States Anti-Doping Agency. The United States Anti-Doping Agency proved that the athlete was actually in the United States when USADA sent a doping control officer to his residence in Morocco to test him in February 2014.

Trafeh is disqualified from all competitive results obtained on and subsequent to January 1, 2012, including forfeiture of any medals, points, and prizes. The disqualification of the athlete includes his 2012 U.S. 15K National Championship, 2013 U.S. Half Marathon Championship and his record-setting U.S. 25k National Championship. It was ruled by the Arbitrator ruled that Trafeh’s period of ineligibility should start on January 1, 2012, the date from which it was determined he first committed an anti-doping rule violation.

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Friday 19, Dec 2014

Gay’s Former Coach Suspended For Eight Years

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Gay’s Former Coach Suspended For Eight Years

The US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has announced that American sprinter Tyson Gay’s former coach Jon Drummond has been banned for eight years for doping violations.

USADA announced a three member panel of the American Arbitration Association North American Court of Arbitration for Sport (AAA) found that Drummond possessed, trafficked, and administered banned performance enhancing substances to Tyson Gay as a coach.

Drummond is the coach of U.S. Olympians and the recent Chairman of the USA Track & Field Athletes Advisory Council and a former world record holder. Earlier this year, Drummond sued Gay and USADA for defamation. He claimed Tyson Gay had made false statements about him and that the US Anti-Doping Agency had republished and endorsed them. The lawsuit was stayed by a US judge, saying that the matter must be settled in arbitration and not in a federal court.

In May this year, Tyson Gay was suspended for one year and he returned the silver medal he won with the US 4x100m relay team at the London Olympics. The athlete was disqualified from all races he contested from July 2012. Gay’s ban was reduced because of the testimony he provided to the US Anti-Doping Agency and he has since returned to competition.

The AAA panel, following a two-day evidentiary hearing, found that Drummond failed to act in the manner expected of a coach of athletes in the Olympic Movement USADA CEO Travis T. Tygart said coaches have an inherent responsibility to protect athletes- not take advantage of them- but to ensure that they receive the support, training and advice they need to win fairly and in accordance with the rules.

The 46-year-old coach will serve an eight year period of ineligibility beginning on December 17, 2014. His sanction will prohibit him from coaching, training or advising athletes and participating or coaching at any event sanctioned by USA Track & Field, the International Association of Athletics Federations or any other WADA Code signatory. The sanction will include coaching, training or advising athletes for the U.S. Olympic, Pan American Games or Paralympic Games Trials, being a member of any U.S. Olympic, Pan American Games, or Paralympic Team.

In 2013, Tyson Gay tested positive for Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), which is a banned substance. It was concluded by USADA upon investigation that a chiropractor named Dr. Clayton Gibson provided the athlete with the DHEA that resulted in the positive test. Drummond was found in violation of many anti-doping rules, including possession of DHEA in violation of Code Article 2.6 and IAAF ADR 32.2 (f), trafficking of DHEA in violation of Code Article 2.7 and IAAF ADR 32.2 (g), attempted trafficking of DHEA, HGH, IGF-1, and/or Testosterone in violation of Code 2.7 and IAAF ADR 32.2 (g).

Drummond denied the charges through his counsel on May 30, 2014 and requested a hearing. The American Arbitration Association acknowledged the demand for arbitration by Drummond on June 4, 2014. An evidential hearing was conducted on September 15 and 16, 2014 in this regard in Texas. The last post-hearing brief was filed on November 17, 2014.

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Wednesday 17, Dec 2014

Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

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Dick Pound to Lead WADA Probe Into Russian Systematic Doping Allegations

An independent commission has been set up by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to investigate allegations of widespread and systematic doping among Russian athletes.

The three-person WADA commission will be chaired by WADA’s former president Dick Pound and will also include lawyer Richard McLaren. A third member of the independent commission will be announced by the World Anti-Doping Agency at a later stage. WADA said the investigation will begin next month. The panel will seek to determine if there have been any World Anti-Doping Code violations by athletes, coaches, doctors, trainers, and WADA-accredited laboratories that may result in sanctions against individuals or organizations.

Pound, the outspoken Canadian IOC member, is entrusted with the task of investigation and comes with strong credentials. He led an internal probe of the International Olympic Committee into the Salt Lake City bid scandal that resulted in the resignation or expulsion of 10 members.

The International Association of Athletics Federations welcomed the appointment of the WADA panel. IAAF President Lamine Diack said The IAAF takes this opportunity to reiterate its full support of the WADA investigation and added our primary concern must always be to protect the integrity of competition in support of the vast majority of clean athletes, and we look forward to working with WADA to this end.

Earlier this month, a documentary broadcast by German television station ZDF/ARD disclosed Russian athletes and coaches admitting to covering up positive doping tests. The documentary claimed that 99 percent of Russian athletes are guilty of doping and it also alleged that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the world governing body for track and field, decided not to investigate 150 suspicious doping samples, including one from a British athlete.

In a statement, WADA confirmed the role of the Commission is to establish: if there have been any breaches of World Anti-Doping Code or International Standard processes or rules by signatories to the Code; if there have been any breaches of rules by WADA-accredited laboratories; if there have been any breaches of anti-doping rules by athletes and their entourage members (including coaches, trainers and doctors); and, to gather information and explore whether sufficient evidence exists that could lead to sanctions against any individual or organization under rules of the World Anti-Doping Code.

WADA president Sir Craig Reedie remarked WADA is pleased that Richard Pound and Professor Richard McLaren have agreed to look into the grave doping allegations that came to light through the recent German television broadcasts. Reedie added the Independent Commission has the vital task of reviewing the allegations aired during the documentaries, as well as all other information received separately by WADA, to determine if there have been any violations to anti-doping rules. The WADA president also remarked once the investigation is concluded, if it is found that there have been violations or breaches of the rules, WADA will ensure that any individuals or organizations concerned are dealt with in an appropriate fashion under the World Anti-Doping Code. He also said the Commission will be given the resources it needs in order for the investigation to be carried out thoroughly, and so that, in turn, clean athletes across the world are reassured that the anti-doping system is working in their best interests.

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Monday 15, Dec 2014

Philip Fenton Found Guilty Of Steroid Possession

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Philip Fenton Found Guilty Of Steroid Possession

Irish trainer Philip Fenton was found guilty of eight charges of possessing unlicensed animal remedies.

The trainer, who is now considering an appeal, has been fined €6,000 and must pay more than €10,000 in total costs following the hearing into charges brought by Ireland’s Department of Agriculture at Carrick-on-Suir District Court in County Tipperary. The Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer was found guilty for harboring unlicensed animal remedies, including the steroid Nitrotrain (which contains the steroid ethylestrenol) and Ilium Stanabolic, the performance-enhancing drug that contains the steroid Stanozolol.

The drugs were found hidden underneath a horse blanket near the medicine store of Fenton, in a cardboard box addressed to the trainer at his stable during a raid on Fenton’s stable in January 2012 by investigators from Ireland’s Department of Agriculture.

The Department is being represented by Sean Gillane, senior counsel, with barrister Johnny Walshe representing Fenton.

Barrister Johnny Walshe representing Fenton claimed that the Department’s investigators did not followed the correct protocols when they visited Fenton’s yard and after the visit. Walshe referred to the absence of a search warrant and a Department exhibits book to record details of the substances found. The Barrister also pointed to the alleged failure of officials to caution Fenton on the day in question. In summary, the presiding judge, Timothy Lucey, said he was in no doubt that the substances listed in the charges and shown to the court were the same ones that had been found in the yard of Fenton though he remarked some of the procedures had been “sloppy.”

The court was told by Caroline Garvan, a vet with the Department, that the 1kg tub of Nitrotain contained enough of the steroid to provide 250 doses. Garvan also remarked anabolic steroids increase muscle mass, stamina and strength and also said they are most definitely a performance-enhancer. The Vet added steroids increase an animal’s musculature and ability to perform and commented that Ethylestranol is probably the most potent anabolic steroid you could see as it is four times stronger than Stanozolol and you would start to see its effects in about two weeks. He also remarked it is also very difficult to detect as it can be excreted out of the body in 24 hours.

Nitrotain gives an opportunity to an unscrupulous trainer to improve the performance of a horse with little chance of their cheating being discovered in a post-race dope test.

The Turf Club will also initiate its own investigation into the case following the guilty verdict against Fenton. Turf Club chief executive Denis Egan said the next step is we will be interviewing Philip and the matter will then be referred to our referral committee. Egan added we will get to work on it almost immediately. Chris Gordon, the head of security for the Irish Turf Club, said regular of the sport in Ireland would take the appropriate steps following the conclusion of the court case. Gordon also remarked there will be an investigation commenced immediately and an interview with Philip Fenton will form part of the investigation.

The 49-year-old is best known for handling Cheltenham Gold Cup hope Last Instalment and 2009 Champion Bumper winner Dunguib.

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Saturday 13, Dec 2014

Study Says Tainted Supplements Sold After Recalls

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Study Says Tainted Supplements Sold After Recalls

According to new research, some manufacturers are continuing to sell tainted dietary supplements that are often spiked with hidden and potentially dangerous drug months and even years after being the subjects of product recalls.

Research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association revealed that 27 supplements that were available for purchase online in the summer of 2013 that were among 274 recalled during 2009-2012 were identified. Tests conducted by the research team disclosed that one or more pharmaceuticals in nearly 67 percent of the supplements available for purchase, including chemicals similar to the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra or the diet drug Meridia that was pulled from the market due to stroke and heart attack risks. The study also found that 85 percent of sports enhancement or bodybuilding supplements purchased by the researchers remained adulterated with dangerous compounds.

Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and one of the authors of the study, said consumers need to avoid the categories of supplements that these drugs are found in: weight-loss, sports supplements, and sexual enhancement supplements. He added the regulatory approach to supplements offers little assurance to consumers that products in these categories are truly all-natural and do not include potentially dangerous pharmaceuticals.

Cohen and the research team found Novedex XT (contains an anabolic steroid and an anti-estrogen compound), Massdrol (bodybuilding supplement), Slim Xtreme Herbal Slimming Capsule (containing Sibutramine), and M-Drol (containing a steroid or steroid-like compound) as the faulty products. M-Drol was recalled in 2009 while Slim Xtreme Herbal Slimming Capsule was recalled in 2011. Massdrol was recalled in 2009 and Novedex XT: was recalled in 2010 as it included an anti-estrogen compound.

The research called for more aggressive enforcement by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It also urged for an increase in powers of the agency for preventing supposedly all-natural dietary supplements that are often spiked with pharmaceuticals from being marketed to consumers.

Steve Mister, president of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, remarked the journal article grossly misrepresents the extent of the situation and understates the success of FDA’s efforts. It was noted by Mister and Daniel Fabricant, executive director of the Natural Products Association, that the researchers were able to buy only 27 of the recalled supplements and the tests did not find pharmaceuticals in nine of them, indicating they had been reformulated.

Fabricant, who was the FDA’s top supplement regulator until this year, remarked the FDA does take action against companies that sell tainted supplements but it too often takes a long time to build felony cases against bad actors. He went on to remark that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration should be using its authority to bring faster misdemeanor cases against firms selling adulterated supplements.

In a statement, the FDA said that it faces the challenge of providing effective deterrents to prevent unscrupulous firms from fraudulently marketing and importing these products. It also remarked the industry is extremely fragmented and often involves products made overseas and packaged and sold by different small distributors, some of them difficult to identify and lo

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