A Swiss company at the center of a doping protocol bottle integrity controversy this past February has decided to leave the doping control business entirely. Berlinger Special AG was the manufacturer of security bottles used to store athlete doping control urine and/or blood, but, when used by an accredited laboratory in Cologne in the lead-up to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, were deemed susceptible to cracking when frozen.
At the time, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stated, “This situation, if confirmed, will raise concerns and questions.” The organization reassured athletes and stakeholders that it was “resolutely committed to following up with Berlinger until the matter is resolved, and that we will keep stakeholders apprised as the situation evolves.”
Now 2 months later, WADA has been informed that Berlinger Special AG is withdrawing from the doping control business entirely.
“The Board of Directors of Berlinger Special AG has resolved that the company will cease production of its doping control kits in the medium term,” the company said late last week. (RT News)
“We have taken the strategic decision to make an orderly withdrawal from this business segment over the next few months, and to focus on the high-tech core business of Berlinger & Co. AG,” CEO Andrea Berlinger said. She added that “doping malpractice” had increased and changed demands placed on the products, adding that it is “incompatible with our corporate values and core competencies.” (RT News)
Berlinger noted that it had ‘ceased to supply its doping control kits’ following the reported breakage cases, however, the product is still being used at the Winter Paralympic Games that are underway. WADA is currently looking for alternative sources of sample-collection kits, but Berlinger is to “meet the continued demand” for its production “for as long as stocks last.”
The product is being used at the ongoing Winter Paralympic Games in PyeongChang. As such, WADA’s latest statement reads, “WADA wrote to all ADOs, accredited laboratories and sample collection agencies, including the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee, to update them on the situation and to provide detailed guidance to secure the integrity of the doping control process.”
You can read WADA’s statement in its entirety here.