IOC FAST-TRACKS EPO TEST VALIDATION REVIEW
Rio de Janeiro, 25 May 2000 - Scientific and Juridical Review Processes In Place
The IOC Medical Commission reconfirmed today in Rio de Janeiro that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is fully prepared to accept, review the qualifications of, and administer any EPO test that has been sufficiently validated by an internationally-accepted protocol.
Dr. Jacques Rogge, vice chairman of the IOC Medical Commission, said, “The IOC wants an EPO test, but as we have said all along, that test must be scientifically and legally validated. The IOC will do all it can to fast-track the validation process.
“The IOC has taken all measures in order to apply an EPO test at the Sydney Olympic Games as soon as it is validated by the scientific community.”
The IOC Executive Board at its Seville meetings in June 1999 confirmed the IOC would administer at the Olympic Games any blood test that has been legally and scientifically validated to be effective for all athletes under all conditions. Following this, the Olympic Charter was amended to allow for their use.
At its meetings in Sydney in February 2000, the IOC Executive Board granted the IOC Medical Commission the authority to fast-track approval of any new validated test. Since that time, the Medical Commission has identified a panel of experts and placed them on notice to receive and review the scientific data. It has also gained agreement from the IOC Juridical Commission to be prepared to review the test on legal grounds.
Before the test can be received by the IOC for these final approvals, it must be validated externally by the scientific community. This scientific validation phase will follow an internationally-accepted protocol for approving scientific research results and will consist of four steps.
First, the test will have to be published in an internationally recognized peer-review journal. This will entail an internal study by the publication’s own reviewers before publication of the research.
Second, the panel placed on stand-by by the IOC will study the findings described in the published article and the information gained from the peer review of the scientific journal. The scientific expert panel will ensure the test has gained the necessary scientific validation in order to give the athletes the assurance that the test is scientifically valid.
Third, the recommendation will be passed on to the IOC Juridical Commission of the IOC for legal review and opinion. The IOC Juridical Commission’s role will be to determine whether the testing method protect the athlete’s legal rights so it can endure potential legal challenges. The IOC Juridical Commission is prepared to conduct this review as soon as called upon.
Fourth, the original test results generated by the original laboratory will have to be reproduced in a different laboratory by a different team following the original protocol. The results from this confirmation study also will be subject to peer review and publication following the same method. This step can run concurrently to the others.
Because doping cases involve not only the health and ethics of the athlete but also his or her reputation and legal rights, the IOC will have to assure the athletes that both scientific and legal considerations had been fully examined.
Currently, the IOC is funding to the level of US$2 million in-whole or in-part four research projects seeking new measures for the detection of EPO.