Dr Richard McLaren, who authored the exploding report on state-sponsored doping by Russia, has remarked the system of therapeutic use exemptions for athletes is open to abuse.

Hackers Fancy Bears this week released stolen TUE medical files of athletes. The records released mostly detail TUEs that allows banned substances to be taken for verified medical needs of athletes.

The hacked files included those of three-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome and five-time Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins. The medical files of golfer Charley Hull, rugby sevens player Heather Fisher and rower Sam Townsend were also made public. British Olympic champions Laura Trott and Nicola Adams had files released on Friday. Trott had TUEs for Salmeterol and Salbutamol, which are used in the treatment of asthma and expired on 31 July, 2013.  The 31-year-old Froome remarked he had already made public his use of therapeutic use exemptions. Froome twice took the steroid Prednisolone for “exacerbated asthma” while Wiggins used Salbutamol to treat chest conditions and asthma.

Canadian law professor and sports lawyer McLaren remarked one would have to conduct investigations on specific sports as to whether or not too many TUEs are being used with respect to particular substances. McLaren remarked one of the common TUEs is for Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medication – there may be abuse there and added that is one area that probably needs to be looked at – how frequently are certain medicines being used in particular sports.

Methylphenidate, which is prescribed for ADHD, is a stimulant that helps improve brain function in people with the health complication. However, it also has the ability to improve the performance of an athlete and is only allowed to be used by elite performers with medical approval.

McLaren also questioned response of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to his Russian state-sponsored doping investigation that is believed to have prompted the hackers to break into the systems of WADA and release files of athletes. The Canadian law professor and sports lawyer said the IOC downplayed the findings of his report that concluded the sports ministry of Russia “directed, controlled and oversaw” manipulation of urine samples provided by its athletes between 2011 and 2015.

The WADA report author also said the IOC turned it into an issue about individuals. McLaren also remarked the report looked at individuals not because they had committed doping infractions, but to ascertain whether they were part of a system that was operated outside of their national governing body, and was being run by the state. He also commented he was “confident” sufficient proof of Russian state-sponsored doping, “beyond a reasonable doubt” was disclosed by the report. McLaren added they were not interim conclusions but they were final conclusions, and not allegations, as was suggested by various organizations including the International Olympic Committee.

McLaren also commented decision by the IOC to impose a ban only on individual Russian athletes guilty of doping offences in the past turned that on its head and turned it into an issue about individuals and their rights to compete, which was nothing to do with the report.

pdf_iconDownload in PDF: Therapeutic Use Exemptions Can Be Abused, Says McLaren