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Romanet Calls For International Drug Rules

Friday, 18th December 2009

International Federation of Horseracing Authorities chairman Louis Romanet told the US Round Table Conference the need for "international harmonisation in the medication area" is essential to provide "a level playing field across international boundaries: border-free racing as we say. A positive test in one country must be a positive test in another country. It will also provide an improvement in consistency of policies & public confidence in horseracing; & it will provide harmonisation of detection sensitivity & drug classification, thus any violations will be much more difficult to defend." However he also noted that, while "for many years, the majority of countries have adopted a zero tolerance approach for all drugs (excluding threshold value substances which have been agreed internationally) . . . . we have a fundamental change because over the past 30 years or so advances in technology have resulted in over a one-million-fold increase in drug screening sensitivity. So the increasing sensitivity of analytical techniques allows more & more prohibited substances to be detected at very low levels; but this sensitivity is absolutely necessary for the detection of potent drugs with no place in racing. We go deeper & wider to find new drugs, but for some therapeutic substances this increase in the sensitivity of analytical techniques allows for the control of exposure not associated to any effect. So what is the new philosophy? The new philosophy is that a zero tolerance approach for regulatory control for therapeutic substances is becoming a fading illusion - my father would have been very surprised to hear that declaration - and so the goal for the future integrity of racing is to develop screening limits for therapeutic substances . . . . based upon a rigorous analysis of their pharmacological & pharmacokinetic properties. These screening limits will then provide the guide for international harmonisation." (Aug 28)

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