The World Anti-Doping Agency has decided against banning thyroid medication in the new list of prohibited substances.
WADA, based in Montreal, released their updated list of banned substances Tuesday and, against pressure from the United States and United Kingdom anti-doping bodies, did not add thyroid medication to the updated 2016 list, which will come into effect Jan. 1.
Coaches have pushed to add the medication to the list of banned substances, claiming endurance athletes in track and field have been abusing it. WASA doesn’t agree. Dr. Oliver Rabin, WADA’s science director told the Wall Street Journal “All the experts in the field came to the conclusion that no, there is no way to believe that thyroid hormone could be performance enhancing.”
The medication is used to treat hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid does not produce enough of the hormone and can lead to long-term, chronic fatigue.
For a substance to be banned it must meet at least two of three criteria: it must improve performance, it must be harmful to an athlete’s health or it must violate “the spirit of the sport.” WADA concluded thyroid medication does not improve performance and does not put athletes’ health at risk.