In Light of Leaks, WADA Releases FAQs on Therapeutic Use Exemptions

In light of cyber-espionage group Fancy Bear’s cyber-attacks on the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the resulting leaks in top American athletes’ medical information, the WADA has released a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to clarify their therapeutic use exemption policies.

The WADA and all anti-doping organizations across the world allow therapeutic use exemptions so that athletes can get permission to use a prohibited substances or medical procedures in the case of an illness or medical condition.

In order to be granted a therapeutic use exemption by the WADA, four criteria must be met:

  1. “The athlete would experience significant health problems without taking the prohibited substance or method”
  2. “The therapeutic use of the substance would not produce significant enhancement of performance”
  3. “There is no reasonable therapeutic alternative to the use of the otherwise prohibited substance or method”
  4. “The requirement to use that substance or method is not due to the prior use of the substance or method without a TUE, which was prohibited at the time of use.”

Athletes who are granted an exemption must adhere to strict dosage and administration guidelines, and exemptions are only good for a set period of time.

To learn more about therapeutic use exemptions, see the full FAQs here.

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4 years ago

Yes a set period of up to 4 years .

Why not make them public , then all us weaklings can think – OMG they are just like me just faster .

I am particularly impressed with Miss Kathleen who has been allowed / is allowed 5 drugs . I am very excited to know that because my dog has also had 3 of those drugs .( 11 years old & nearly dead ) .These brought him back so well that he has become embarrassingly s*x obsessed & had had to be neutered .

No wonder the Olympics hand out C*ndoms . Who knew?

Andrew Reed
4 years ago

I know this a very sticky situation for WADA and I also know that there are circumstances athletes use TUEs that are not always purely for medical reasons. If we examine the restrictions of use listed above we can see how easily athletes can exploit them.

1. A paid professional makes the decision on health and often prescribes drugs that will aid performance too regardless of what WADA states above. THAT’S why they pay them.

2. WADA cannot and will not dismiss advice from trained medical practitioners as under the constitution they have no rights to argue against the advice even if the drugs enhance performance (this rules out 2 &3 above)

3. Athletes can exploit these rules and have… Read more »

4 years ago

If #2 is true, why is it a banned drug? Why not allow anyone who wants to take the drug take it if there is no significant enhancement of performance? If you look at the trials results for 100 back, didn’t we have two people in the finals who did not need an exemption? USA Swimming should set the standard for a clean sport. It is more important to teach our young people that drugs are not the answer than to allow someone to compete with a perceived advantage. What if the person requiring the exemption had the flu when the competition rolled around? They would not compete, I hope. Someone needing a banned substance should not compete as well.… Read more »

Brad Cooper
Reply to  vivian
4 years ago

Perhaps clean sport may eventually split itself into a “fundamentalist” position of zero pharmaceutical tolerance (during training and racing), leaving a separate TUE competition to sort out its own complicated future.
Sport without guarantees of fair play is simply a display of skills, a circus. (Nobody comes away from a circus worrying about the doping status of the performers, because there is no competition involved.)
It is a shame that a criminal cyber hacking group is needed to get a conversation going about TUEs, but it is a fact that the TUE door to doping is increasingly attractive to cheats. The phrase “we weren’t doing anything illegal” must be music to their ears.
There have been past… Read more »

About Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht

Hannah Hecht grew up in Kansas and spent most of her childhood trying to convince coaches to let her swim backstroke in freestyle sets. She took her passion to Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa and swam at NAIA Nationals all four years. After graduating in 2015, she moved to …

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