Posted by Editor on 12/17/05
Doping in Sport Should Be Legal, Experts Claim
A Swiss medical expert has called for doping in sport to be made legal in professional sports under medical supervision.
In a viewpoint article for The Lancet's Medicine and Sport special issue, Bengt Kayser of the University of Geneva states that antidoping policies are "unfounded, dangerous, and excessively costly" and calls for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sport to be made legal.
The scientist argues that legalisation of doping would encourage more sensible, informed use of drugs in amateur sport. He also pointed out that the current antidoping rules often lead to complicated and costly administrative and medical investigations into whether drugs taken by athletes are legitimate therapeutic agents or illicit substances.
He suggests that permitting the use of performance-enhancing drugs rather than driving them underground would lead to a reduction in health problems associated with doping. The medic adds that sport is dangerous anyway and comes with risks, such as the threat of knee and ankle problems for footballers.
Mr Kayser declared: "The need for rules in sports cannot be dismissed. But the anchoring of today's antidoping regulations in the notion of fair play is misguided, since other factors that affect performance - eg, biological and environmental factors - are unchecked. Getting help from one's genes - by being blessed with a performance-enhancing genetic predisposition - is acceptable. Use of drugs is not. Yet both types of advantage are undeserved."
The expert called for studies into the risk afforded by the use of drugs or technology in enhancing performance, adding that "such work cannot be done while use of performance-enhancing drugs is illegal".
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