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Tuesday 12, Apr 2016

  Growth Hormones Were Given To Victorian Special Operations Group Members

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The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court has heard that an associate of key figures in the Essendon doping scandal provided members of Victoria Police’s elite Special Operations Group with growth hormones.

The Court heard that a sergeant and his colleague from the Special Operations Group were patients of Robin James Taylor, who was charged with possessing anabolic steroids and Testosterone after his Melbourne Sport Medicine and Anti-Aging Clinic was raided in October 2013, along with a member of the Hells Angels bikies club. Taylor once used to work at Shane Charter’s doctor ageless clinic. Shane provided growth hormones and peptides to Essendon Sports scientist Stephen Dank.

The officer, who cannot be named, told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court Taylor provided him with growth hormones SARMS 22 and GHRP 6 that help with muscle growth. The unnamed official admitted before the Court that he used the drugs to find relief from a shoulder injury. The officer said his blood test results were discussed by the controversial clinic owner and he was thereafter provided with the medication.

The officer also remarked Taylor’s co-accused doctor Hoong Pan Sze-Tho was in the room but did not speak during the consultation. The SOG member said Taylor left the room and came back with medication and added that we were shown some medication and then given some Intel on how to use that medication and the name on the packets were SARMS 22 and GHRP 6.

Taylor’s wife Georgina Matta has also been charged along with a doctor, Hoong Pan Sze-Tho, and the clinic’s receptionist, Amy Lee Gorgievski. Taylor faces more than 70 charges including trafficking other anabolic androgenic steroids, importing prohibited goods, and obtaining property by deception by purporting to be a licensed medical practitioner. Dr Sze-Tho faces 242 charges that include trafficking anabolic steroids and prescribing testosterone for other than medical treatment while Ms Matta is charged with 55 similar offences. The offences are alleged to have occurred between January 2012, and October 2013.

An audit by the Department of Health at a Chemist Warehouse pharmacist near Taylor’s Ascot Vale clinic found Dr Sze-Tho was ordering very huge amounts of testosterone that Taylor or his wife would pick up from the clinic. It was disclosed by Chris Falke, Manager of Compliance at Department of Human Services that some of the prescriptions were for 90 injections and that is an extraordinary quantity. Falke added he would say prescribing 90 injections is very difficult to justify in any circumstances.

Doping in sports is not new but rare in Australian sports. During 2013, Australia recorded 35 drugs offences, and most of these cases were from bodybuilding and Rugby (including both Union and League). Australia’s positive drug tests according to figures from the World Anti-Doping Agency were bodybuilding (seven), bowling (one), boxing (one), cycling (two), netball (one), powerlifting (four), aquatics (two cases), athletics (three), AFL (three), motorsports (one), baseball (one), rugby (six), triathlon (one), weightlifting (one) and wrestling (one). Russia had 225 drugs cases in 2013 and Turkey had a total of 188 drugs cases.

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Sunday 05, May 2013

  Banned Anti-Obesity Drug Was Administered To Essendon Players

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Banned Anti-Obesity Drug Was Administered To Essendon Players

The Essendon Football Club, on the eve of ANZAC Day, made a public admission that the anti-obesity drug AOD-9604 had been administered to some of its players last year.

The announcement comes as devastating news for the Melbourne Football Club, with the World Anti-Doping Agency stating categorically that AOD-9604 is a banned substance. The determination of WADA was made with respect to substances that are prohibited at all times and appears under the heading ‘Non-Approved Substances’ as any pharmacological substance which is not addressed by any of the subsequent sections of the List and with no current approval by any governmental regulatory authority for human therapeutic use (e.g. drugs under pre-clinical or clinical development or discontinued, designer drugs, substances approved only for veterinary use) is prohibited.

Many in the sports fraternity said the banning by WADA of AOD-9604 with regard to it having never received government regulatory approval would not carry weight retrospectively, but the wording of the relevant clause is a ‘catch-all’ that encompasses all and any drugs that have failed to receive the necessary tick required for human use. There have also been claims going around that WADA had earlier provided, in writing, a determination that AOD-9604 was indeed not a banned substance and the Bombers said they relied on the authenticity of that document with respect to the use of the drug.

John Fahey, the head of WADA, said he has never heard of WADA informing an individual club on what’s on the prohibited list. The section relating to ‘Non-Approved Substances’ is numbered S0, which comes before a group of other sections numbered S1 to S5 that cover the full gamut of drugs specifically banned under the World Anti-Doping Agency Code – like anabolic agents, peptides, EPO, and masking agents.

The use of AOD-9604, in accordance with the WADA code, brings with it the standard two-year ban. A reading of the explanatory notes within the WADA Code attached to rules 10.5.1 and 10.5.2 indicates that players banned for administering AOD-9604 will have a very hard time getting their penalties overturned as the notes specify the administration of a prohibited substance by the athlete’s personal physician or trainer without disclosure to the athlete does not constitute an acceptable excuse to have a ban overturned.

If the bans are imposed, it could be argued that the players were simply complying with instructions given to them by people they believed were in a position of trust, who had been installed within the club by its administration after a test of due diligence and it may be said the young men in question were simply acting on good faith when asked to submit to certain medical protocols. The examples of young athletes in countries like East Germany back in the 1970s and ’80s can be cited wherein athletes took sinister substances like testosterone and anabolic steroids after being wrongly told that there were only vitamin pills.

However, a big majority of sports thinkers believe it is hard to see any leniency being granted to those who were administered banned substances given the framework of the WADA Code and the way it has been applied since it was codified.

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Thursday 07, Feb 2013

  Doping Widespread In Australian Sport

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Doping Widespread In Australian Sport

An Australian Crime Commission inquiry has identified that drug use is widespread in Australian sport. The damning official probe revealed growing links to organized crime that points to “clear parallels” with the Lance Armstrong case.

The common use of banned substances such as peptides, hormones, and illicit drugs was identified by the inquiry, with no professional sporting codes immune to the scourge of doping.

Sports scientists, coaches, support staff, doctors, and pharmacists were involved in the provision of drugs according to the findings in the year-long investigation. In its report, the commission said peptides and hormones despite being prohibited substances in professional sport are being used by professional athletes in Australia, facilitated by sports scientists, high-performance coaches, and sports staff. It was further revealed that some players were even being administered with banned substances that have not yet been approved for use by humans.

Home affairs minister Jason Clare said the findings are shocking and will disgust fans of Australian sports. Jason added that officials from clubs have also been identified as administering, via injections and intravenous drips, and a variety of substances and this cheating but more than that, it is cheating with the help of criminals. He went on to add that multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of presently using or having previously used peptides, potentially constituting anti-doping rule violations.

The year-long investigation also disclosed that there were “clear parallels between what has been discovered in Australia and the USADA (US Anti-Doping Agency) investigation into Lance Armstrong”, referring to the disgraced Tour de France cyclist, which underlines the transnational threat posed by doping in professional sport, both from a ‘fair play’ perspective and as a broader integrity issue. The project findings, USADA investigation, and previous high-profile doping cases in Europe and the United States make it clear that it is not only athletes who are involved in doping, but also athletic support staff, organized criminal groups, and complicit doctors. The report also disclosed that criminal networks were increasingly involved in distributing illegal substances and the links may have resulted in match-fixing and fraudulent manipulation of betting markets.

The threat of match-fixing was “extraordinarily serious” with organized crime involved, Crime Commission boss John Lawler said who also added that organized crime has many facets and it will go to where there are lucrative profits to be made, low risk, regulatory weakness, and they will exploit those vulnerabilities.

All sports had committed to work with the government, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), and law enforcement agencies to restore confidence in sport, said Sports minister Kate Lundy. She said the government this week introduced legislation to strengthen the powers of ASADA to enable the full and unhindered investigation of these issues and if persons of interest refuse to cooperate with ASADA investigations they will be liable for civil penalties. Kate also added that all major professional sports would establish integrity units to deal with doping, betting and ethical issues.

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