Thursday, 29 November 2007

Part ONE: WADA laboratory to standardize...

As an independent observer to the WADA World Conference on Doping in Sport in Madrid, WADAwatch was privileged to join a distinguished lunch table of critical participants...

(critical defined in three senses: their on-point professional positions, their laser-beam focus on the issues, and... perhaps a slightly jaundiced regard for WADAwatch's analytical presumptions) discuss perceived omissions of the WADA CODE, as has been repetitively discussed at the crystelZENmud and WADAwatch blogs (There's a CODE link at the right).

ZENmud productions has postulated previously that the WADA CODE, and its subsidiary document the International Standard for Laboratories (“CODE”, “ISL”) lack the necessary control elements to protect Athletes from improprieties in laboratory work performed by WADA-accredited labs. As well, the CODE and the ISL lack any non-arbitrary disciplinary function against the labs, that can be implemented by any Signatory other that WADA.

Many hours (50<100) of pro-bono legal research and analysis were contributed by your Humble Narrator to the cause of global doping control in sports, yet that didn't appear a sufficient effort from outside WADA, to convince certain officials at the table we shared.
Admittedly, those are officials whose daily lives have been, much more than that of WADAwatch, fundamentally attuned to the CODE and its progeny.

Maybe their long hours and years of support of these documents is exactly what prevents them from seeing the 'fresh-eyes' obviousness of the situations that were analyzed by ZENmud productions.
There ARE serious problems remaining in the CODE, even after its acceptance by the Signatories. Yet these pertinent parties have been on notice as to those problems for long over the three months now since the questionnaire was developed.

The crystelZENmud Questionnaire for labs had dealt with these lapses, and was sent some three months ago, but for any number of reasons the WADA-accredited laboratories did not choose to respond to our request for answers and information: so much for laboratory and WADA's transparency... or momentum thereto?

In spite of their reticence to be persuaded, there's no backing down here, as the paradigm of WADA oversight of its accredited laboratories remains in need of drastic reform, before... well before it gets any worse than what we've seen, in the Armstrong-EPO accusations, the Landaluce and Landis cases, and any number of other cycling 'affairs'.

If it takes a new and more-convincing argument, then the time is ripe for convincing the Rune Andersens and Anne Grippers of the sporting world.

A review of the
WADA CODE reveals the situation... as pertinent Articles such as the Introduction offers this:

To ensure harmonized, coordinated and effective anti-doping programs at the international and national level with regard to detection, deterrence and prevention of doping.

The purpose of the WADA CODE, itself, is to advance the anti-doping effort through universal harmonization of core anti-doping elements. It is intended to be specific enough to achieve complete harmonization on issues where uniformity is required, yet general enough in other areas to permit flexibility on how agreed anti-doping principles are implemented.”

WADAwatch agrees with WADA itself, that its standardization and harmonization programs regarding detection (and prevention) of doping, by any reasoned thinking, must implicate the laboratories that detect positive Adverse Analytical Findings (AAFs).

Plainly stated, the WADA CODE's Purpose shows how the means of achieving greater impact on doping Athletes, substantiates its desired end result:

  • “...universal harmonization of core anti-doping elements”, and
  • “...complete harmonization on issues where uniformity is required,”

... are two concepts that must implicate the laboratories, if intended to advance the global anti-doping effort.

One would be hard-pressed to reason that, in creating and implementing the WADA CODE espousing universal and complete harmonization, WADA did not have the laboratories foremost in its collective mind, as described above.

Other 'harmonization' paradigms could or should include 'sanctions and process' against the Athletes, as well as Signatories' adoption of the CODE, rights and responsibilities of WADA and the IOC, etc. Yet in the primordial sense, no other priority should have been permitted to supersede the harmonization of WADA's accredited labs.

But WADA did exactly that, through all the early years of its world-wide growth. Certainly, in the four years since acceptance of the WADA CODE, a long series of Tech Docs were established, but why didn't WADA standardize laboratory performance and harmonize global testing procedures?

The WADA CODE offers a fundamental rationale, the most relevant words being these below: is the essence of Olympism; it is how we play true. ...characterized by the following values: Ethics, fair play and honesty [.....] Respect for rules and laws."

WADAwatch must agree with WADA (at least its CODE Drafting Committee).

Ethics, fair play, respect for rules and laws: these all
must implicate the laboratories as they work under the CODE, ISL and IST, the ISO 17025:2005 laboratory standard, as well as the Declaration of Helsinki Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects.

If evidence abounds, which together is proving that standardization and harmonization hasn't happened, wherein lies the fault?

In the body of the CODE... (Part two of this post)



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