London: GlaxoSmithKline signed a deal with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on Monday that it said would help scientists develop early detection methods for drugs that have performance-enhancing potential in sport.
Under the deal, the British drugmaker will supply WADA with confidential information about medicines in early stage development that may be abused by athletes once they are licensed. The deal covers all new drugs being developed by GSK.
“There is always the potential for the illegitimate use of medicines by a minority of athletes seeking advantage in sport,” GSK said in a statement.
The drugmaker said it will review all drugs to identify substances with a probable or high risk of abuse in sport.
“Scientists will look for any similarity to the pharmacological characteristics of existing performance-enhancing substances and assess how they work in the human body,” the firm said. “This would include stimulatory effects or improved physical endurance.”
Any new drugs found to have performance-enhancing potential would then be highlighted to WADA and confidential scientific data relating to them would be transferred by GSK so anti-doping experts can begin work on detection methods.
Efforts to improve and formalize ways of sharing sensitive information with WADA have been underway across the drug industry since the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) - which includes 25 leading pharmaceuticals firms including GSK, Merck & Co and Eli Lilly and Co - signed a joint declaration with WADA in July last year?
“Our work with the pharmaceutical industry is critical to staying one step ahead of the dopers, who have an ever increasing level of scientific expertise,” said John Fahey, WADA’s president, who welcomed GSK’s agreement.