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FMBA official: Meldonium’s ban was politically motivated

April 19, 2016, 14:34 UTC+3 MOSCOW

"WADA was well aware that meldonium was mostly used in Russia," Federal Micro-Biological Agency (FMBA) head says

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© Donat Sorokin/TASS

MOSCOW, April 19. /TASS/. A decision of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to include drug meldonium in the list of the banned performance enhancing drugs was a politically motivated campaign against Russian athletes, Federal Micro-Biological Agency (FMBA) Head Vladimir Uiba said on Tuesday.

"Undoubtedly, it was a politically-motivated template to be used against our [Russian] national team," Uiba said. "Someone cannot simply forgive us for our triumph in Sochi [at the 2014 Olympics]."

"WADA was well aware that meldonium was mostly used in Russia," he said. "It was used in Europe as well but was consumed on the greater scale in Russia."

According to WADA’s most recent data, a total of over 170 doping samples worldwide tested positive for meldonium, including some 30 Russian athletes. Among them are tennis star Maria Sharapova, Olympic medalist in swimming Yulia Efimova and Olympic medalist in speed skating Pavel Kulizhnikov.

"The drug is accumulating [in body] if an athlete is taking it for years," Uiba said. "This is why WADA was perfectly aware that it was impossible to make the drug leave the body system within a three-month period. It was announced in autumn that the preparation would be included in the list of the banned substances."

"On January 1, they officially proclaimed it to be a doping substance," the FMBA head said. "It was immediately clear to everyone that it [meldonium] would not leave the body system within three months. That is why they [WADA] recently announced the amnesty."

WADA announced last 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.

Uiba said that the research, currently conducted by the FMBA, already shows that it takes at least six months for meldonium to dehydrate.

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.

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