Saturday, 12 April 2014

Asafa Powell: the defence of his doping ban


Just a follow up to my last blog, Asafa Powell claims [1] that he was a victim of a contaminated supplement i.e. the oxilofrene he tested positive for was not a listed ingredient in Ephinany D1.  I think this is true; he therefore has a case that, in this regard, the 18-month ban is longer than some that have been handed down for similar offences. He may well win an appeal at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

However, I would contend that the unbanned “stimulants” that are listed on the Epiphany D1 label are not that different to oxilofrene if taken in high doses. Aniracetam in particular is a prescription drug used to treat central nervous system disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease. If Powell was taking it in a pure pill form as a patient, he would surely have declared it on a therapeutic exemption certificate. I am assuming that Epiphany D1 was not listed on any form as athletes, and their coaches, try to keep their supplement regimes as secret as their training regime. In any case I don’t see much difference between taking a cognitive enhancer such as aniracetam versus a banned stimulant like modafinil which has resulted in any number of doping bans (see my book for details).

As an aside it does seem to me that Powell has a case to sue the manufacturers of Epiphany D1, Dynamic Life Nutrition, LLC for loss of earnings and reputation. They even have a GMP (or “Good Manufacturing Practice”) label on their web page after all - though it is rather fuzzy and difficult to read. However, a quick read of their terms and conditions [2], suggests otherwise:

“OUR AGGREGATE LIABILITY (WHETHER FOR BREACH OF CONTRACT, TORT OR ANY OTHER LEGAL THEORY) SHALL IN NO CIRCUMSTANCES EXCEED THE COST OF THE PRODUCTS YOU ORDERED.”

And even better:

“Company neither endorses nor is responsible for the accuracy or reliability of any opinion, advice or statement on the Company Websites”

and again:

“It is your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any information, opinion, advice or other content available through the Company Websites. Please seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding the evaluation of any specific information, opinion, advice or other content, including but not limited to financial, health, or lifestyle information, opinion, advice or other content.”

Caveat emptor



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