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Manufacturer wants meldonium to be excluded from WADA prohibited list in 2017

April 18, 12:50 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The inclusion of meldonium on the WADA list this January came as "an unpleasant surprise for us," Latvia’s pharmaceutical company Grindex says
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© EPA/VALDA KALNINA

MOSCOW, April 18. /TASS/. Latvia’s pharmaceutical company Grindex that manufactures mildronate, a brand name for meldonium, seeks the exclusion of the substance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited list from next year, its chairman of the board Juris Bundulis told reporters on Monday.

The company has sent an open letter to WADA that is available for the public, Bundulis said, adding: "We should ensure that from January 1 next year our drug is no more on the list of banned substances."

The inclusion of meldonium on the WADA list this January came as "an unpleasant surprise for us," he added. For a rather long time, the company had managed to convince the agency not to introduce this measure.

"We have not yet got any answer on the reasons [for banning meldonium]," he said, adding that mildronate was not meant for doping and many countries have allowed its use.

Mildronate is a cardiovascular drug freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription. The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of substances banned by WADA from January 1, 2016. The presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).

Mildronate producer sends WADA results of preparation study over 30 years

In its letter Grindex said that it has sent its overview to WADA as the world anti-doping body had not provided the company with sufficient scientific proofs substantiating the inclusion of meldonium into the list of preparations banned from January 1, 2016.

"If follows from the overview that an overwhelming majority of scientific proofs (about 40 publications and the period covering almost 30 years of research) testify to the substantiated therapeutic use of meldonium, including by athletes," the letter says.

"As far as we know, WADA’s public statements about the properties of meldonium that served as the ground for its inclusion into the list of banned substances could be based on no more than three publications. At the same time, the conclusions made in these publications are not substantiated enough," according to the letter sent by Grindex to WADA.

As Grindex says, meldonium does not influence athletes’ achievements.

"We’re convinced that mildronate is not a preparation enhancing an athlete’s sports achievements and does not pose a real or a potential threat to an athlete’s health. The therapeutic use of meldonium does not contradict the spirit of sport and, especially, health. This can be proved by the wide use of the preparation and its significance for supporting health and curing cardio-vascular and neurological illnesses," Grindex’s letter says.

The World Anti-Doping Agency earlier reported that a total of 140 doping samples worldwide had tested positive for meldonium, including at least 31 Russian athletes. Among them are tennis star Maria Sharapova, Olympic medalist in swimming Yulia Efimova and Olympic medalist in speed skating Pavel Kulizhnikov.

The World Anti-Doping Agency announced on Wednesday that the concentration of less than one microgram of meldonium in the body system of an athlete, whose doping tests were conducted before March 1, was acceptable and the athlete at the issue was not a subject to any sanctions whatsoever.

The drug meldonium (mildronate) was included in the list of preparations banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency from January 1, 2016. The presence of the meldonium substance in the athlete’s blood during and between competitions is a violation of anti-doping rules. The substance belongs to S4 class on the WADA blacklist (hormones and metabolic modulators).

Meldronate is a cardiovascular preparation freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor’s prescription.

Russian sport has been in the center of doping-related scandals since the fall of 2014. Since early February, control over doping abuse in Russian sports has been exercised by RUSADA only under the supervision of the British anti-doping agency (UKAD).

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko earlier said that UKAD was taking up to 200 doping samples from Russian athletes each month.

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