Author Topic: The quality of drugs testing  (Read 1285 times)

David Martin

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The quality of drugs testing
« on: August 07, 2008, 02:34:42 pm »
Some of the community here were surprised that I was so vociferous in my condemnation of the testing in the Landis case. It does seem that I am not the only scientist to think this way. This week's copy of Nature has an editorial and a commentary (subscription required) on the quality (or lack of it) in drugs testing, and what this could mean for some innocent athletes.



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Re: The quality of drugs testing
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2008, 02:38:03 pm »
Cheers for the link. I'll have a look when I'm not busy.  If anyone without access to Nature wants the articles, drop me a PM and I'll email it over.  (Is this legal?  Probably not.)
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David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: The quality of drugs testing
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2008, 02:39:23 pm »
There are two articles to grab.

Worth a read, though it may be too technical for many (Canna do any more captain, I'm reading my technical journals..)
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: The quality of drugs testing
« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2008, 04:56:55 pm »
I scanned through the article. It is interesting; of course the writer is hardly neutral in the present case, although I agree that some judgment, by its nature and in its early implementation, may be tough (but aren't they all?). This leaves us with a dilemna: Do we accept doping openly or do we indeed put in place a tough anti-doping culture to try and dissuade people?

Something else always amazes this me. The French lab is always criticised; is it because it dares to enforce measure or, taking tips from the Italian authorities, say on Mr Ricco, or because they are those actually able to come up "with the goods" and invetsigate the case? It is not nice to be the police; but it is sometimes necessary to have them.
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David Martin

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Re: The quality of drugs testing
« Reply #4 on: August 07, 2008, 05:22:34 pm »
Something else always amazes this me. The French lab is always criticised; is it because it dares to enforce measure or, taking tips from the Italian authorities, say on Mr Ricco, or because they are those actually able to come up "with the goods" and invetsigate the case? It is not nice to be the police; but it is sometimes necessary to have them.

The criticisms are down to two things.. L'Equipe seeming to have unfettered access to the data the lab should keep confidential and anonymised, and shoddy work with poorly controlled procedures and lack of GLP.

Nothing to do with actually hunting for the cheats (which is NOT the labs role, they should be providing impartial testing).

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: The quality of drugs testing
« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2008, 11:05:51 pm »
Something else always amazes this me. The French lab is always criticised; is it because it dares to enforce measure or, taking tips from the Italian authorities, say on Mr Ricco, or because they are those actually able to come up "with the goods" and invetsigate the case? It is not nice to be the police; but it is sometimes necessary to have them.

The criticisms are down to two things.. L'Equipe seeming to have unfettered access to the data the lab should keep confidential and anonymised, and shoddy work with poorly controlled procedures and lack of GLP.


Your opinions; I don't share them fully, and others don't. It seems to me that this lab is actually capable of findings that others can't or don't dare to make. If one doesn't like it, one can chose not to dope or not to race the TdF. Simple really. That would avoid sour grapes.
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

David Martin

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Re: The quality of drugs testing
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2008, 11:14:40 pm »
Something else always amazes this me. The French lab is always criticised; is it because it dares to enforce measure or, taking tips from the Italian authorities, say on Mr Ricco, or because they are those actually able to come up "with the goods" and invetsigate the case? It is not nice to be the police; but it is sometimes necessary to have them.

The criticisms are down to two things.. L'Equipe seeming to have unfettered access to the data the lab should keep confidential and anonymised, and shoddy work with poorly controlled procedures and lack of GLP.


Your opinions; I don't share them fully, and others don't. It seems to me that this lab is actually capable of findings that others can't or don't dare to make. If one doesn't like it, one can chose not to dope or not to race the TdF. Simple really. That would avoid sour grapes.

I'm hoping the issues I raised are now well in the past (they are two years old at least). The effectiveness of the testing was due to the targetting of specific riders by the french antidoping authority. The lab (LNDD) is not the french antidoping authority but is an accredited lab for carrying out the relevant tests.

Because the race was run under french rules rather than UCI rules, the novel tests for CERA (which were not then WADA sanctioned) could be used. Different legal framework. Different approach to selecting riders to test. I think it worked well this year and have seen nothing to criticise and much to praise, beyond the questions raised in the Nature article. If we are about to accuse someone with the knowledge that it will severely harm their future we had better be very sure that we are correct. Legitimate questions have been raised. They should be answered.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: The quality of drugs testing
« Reply #7 on: August 08, 2008, 08:52:51 am »
Okay.

I agree with the need for as much accuracy as possible. I also think that la peur du gendarme exists when the gendarme exists, is good and daring as the French have been (I would even say leading). Arguably the French registered riders are not doing well, but they are rarely caught on drugs. Why? Because they are monitored regularly, risk a legal battle and therefore may have a point when they complain of a cyclisme a deux vistesses. I hope they will be vindicated soon. I really want to see a clamp down on doping; however this might imply difficult decisions as in any right/wrong argument.
Frenchie - Train à Grande Vitesse

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: The quality of drugs testing
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2008, 09:53:12 am »
Okay.

I agree with the need for as much accuracy as possible. I also think that la peur du gendarme exists when the gendarme exists, is good and daring as the French have been (I would even say leading). Arguably the French registered riders are not doing well, but they are rarely caught on drugs. Why? Because they are monitored regularly, risk a legal battle and therefore may have a point when they complain of a cyclisme a deux vistesses. I hope they will be vindicated soon. I really want to see a clamp down on doping; however this might imply difficult decisions as in any right/wrong argument.

I wasn't clear enough. LNDD is not the gendarme but is the forensic lab. I think the approach and quality this year has been good, but we do need to make sure the tests are open to discussion and verified so that we can have confidence in them without crackpot conspiracy theorists or slightly misguided scientists raising unfounded doubts. (I consider the doubts in the Landis case to be well founded).

Personally I would like to see the UCI drop out of organising races (protour) but take a much stronger role in regulation and rider management (biological passports, coordinating anti-doping etc.)

It would be good to have a number of random drugs tests at high level amateur events. Not many, but enough to be spoken about.

..d

"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes