The World Anti-Doping Code 2003--consequences for physicians associated with elite athletes

Int J Sports Med. 2005 Apr;26(3):238-43. doi: 10.1055/s-2004-830545.


The purpose of the World Anti-Doping Code 2003 and the 2004 Prohibited List is to create a universal international standard to fight doping in competitive sports. The result of this is a whole series of changes for doctors with regard to their work with competitive athletes. The revised definition of doping now includes physicians in the group of persons who can fulfil the elements of a doping offence. Moreover, the mere possession of substances appearing on the Prohibited List represents a violation of anti-doping regulations. The 2004 Prohibited List includes several changes to the Olympic Movement List from 2003. Caffeine, for example, was removed from the list. Cannabinoids, on the other hand, are now prohibited in competition for all sports. The same is true for all forms of glucocorticosteroids. Therapeutic use exemptions in an abbreviated process are possible for the administration of glucocorticosteroids by non-systemic routes, as well as inhalative therapy with the beta-2-agonists formoterol, salbutamol, salmeterol, and termbutalin. In other cases, a therapeutic use exemption is possible using a standard application process. Further changes will become effective in the 2005 Prohibited List. In 2005, it is essential that beta-2-agonists are prohibited in and out of competition. HCG and LH are prohibited for all athletes. Dermatological preparations of glucocorticosteroids are no longer prohibited, and intravenous infusions will be a prohibited method in 2005, except as a legitimate acute medical treatment. In cases of violations of anti-doping regulations where it is permissible for the affected person to furnish proof of exoneration, the burden of proof is not higher than that required to prove the violation. The sanctions provided for in the World Anti-Doping Code follow a principle of rules and exceptions which at first glance seems difficult to understand. In the case of doping violations by physicians, the anti-doping code provides--as a general rule--for exclusion from sports associations for at least four years. Since several of the changes are questionable under constitutional aspects, it remains to be seen whether the World Anti-Doping Code 2003 will allow the achievement of a universal standard to combat doping.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / therapeutic use
  • Albuterol / analogs & derivatives*
  • Albuterol / therapeutic use
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Doping in Sports / prevention & control*
  • Ethanolamines / therapeutic use
  • Formoterol Fumarate
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Physician's Role*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Salmeterol Xinafoate
  • Sports / standards*


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Ethanolamines
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Salmeterol Xinafoate
  • Albuterol
  • Formoterol Fumarate