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Meldonium manufacturer claims drug should be excluded from WADA list in 2017

265   //    18 Apr 2016, 16:39 IST
Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is one of the many athletes who have tested positive for Meldonium

Latvian pharmaceutical company Grindex, manufacturer of banned drug 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 said on Monday.

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

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 the drug was not meant for doping and many countries have allowed its use.

Meldonium is a cardiovascular drug freely available for purchase at pharmacies across Russia without doctor's prescription. The drug was included in the list of substances banned by WADA from January 1, 2016.

The presence of the 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).

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 said.

"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," the letter added.


Grindex also claimed Meldonium does not influence athletes' achievements.

"We're convinced that Meldonium is not a preparation enhancing an athlete's sports achievements and does not pose a real or a potential threat to his/her 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," Bundulis said in the letter.

WADA earlier reported that a total of 140 doping samples worldwide had tested positive for Meldonium, including at least 31 Russian athletes.