Primus inter pares

Doping gathers together

March 2, 2016. Sechenov First MSMU organized the Discussion Club session on so-called “Mildronat issues”. Leading Russian experts of medical and pharmacy community, and also competent federal officials discussed the medical aspects of recent fierce doping scandals. This international sports&media hit was caused by detection of Meldonium banned for athletes since January 1, 2016 in the blood tests of about 40 Russian sportsmen.
The Discussion Club meeting was attended by head of History of Medicine chair at First MSMU, Prof. Dmitry Balalykin, scientific director of the Federal Center of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation FMBA Andrei Sereda, deputy head of the Sports Medicine Administration (SMA) Tatiana Pushkina, head of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation chair at First MSMU, Prof. Eugeniy Achkasov, Professor of Nervous Diseases chair First MSMU First Medical, Vladimir Zakharov, deputy head of Commission on medicine, anti-doping and Classification under Russian Paralympic Committee, Guzel Idrisova, staff physician of Russian football national, assistant of Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation chair at First MSMU, Eduard Bezuglov. 
While debating, the experts emphasized poor scientific evidence for Mildronat’s effects over athletic performance, which allegedly urged WADA put the substance on the doping stop list, and no reliable data on the excretion time of the drug. The entire international sporting community is subject to WADA directives, so the direct responsibility of athletes is observance of these requirements, let alone the WADA Code clear-cut regulations on the responsibility of an athlete for violating anti-doping rules. 
Andrey Sereda elaborated the matter of notification of athletes and officials of sports federations regarding the new entries in the stop list: “The doctor cannot even go to practice session without visiting a SMA drugstore. And therein the doctors could not get Meldonium: it's been unavailable since October 2015. That’s why the situation with the doping scandal generates the need to define the area of responsibility of an athlete in terms of medicines he takes”. 
Eugene Achkasov challenged the point that Mildronat enhances athletic performance, and noted that additional studies are likely to give grounds for its exclusion from the blacklist. “We need to facilitate cooperation between coaching staff, sports physicians and athletes, which is not doesn't meet the today's issues. The management of sports federations and the medical staff are greatly responsible for positive doping tests of the athletes. Sports doctors should pass regular retraining, because many of them are coming in sports medicine from other specialties. It is crucial to gear up sports physicians. However, Sechenov FMSMU is the only university all over Russia which trains the undergraduates on the basics of sports medicine”. 
"The responsibility of an athlete is regulated by WADA. The doctor may be an affiliated party, but the entire responsibility is on the athlete’s party. As a team doctor I can say that everybody were aware of Mildronat banning. And I always highlighted it. It has been unveiled since last October, whilst now we face 110 positive samples. But as for me, I’ve never prescribed this drug to athletes”, swears Eduard Bezuglov. 
The outcome of the event was the general expert opinion that the substance itself and the effects it induces shall be furtherly examined. Until now it remains uncertain how long Mildronat taken in cycles is being excreted notwithstanding the cumulative effect.

Ad notam. The Sechenov First MSMU Discussion Club is a prominent intercollegiate platform for reviewing the most topical scientific and social matters. The club brings together scientists, practitioners, clinicians, experts, journalists and bloggers interested in medicine, history, philosophy, religion, bioethics etc.
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24.03.2016

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