A growing number of drug companies are working with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to try to prevent illegal use of their products among athletes, according to The New York Times.
Roche and GlaxoSmithKline have started to evaluate all new drug candidates for their potential to be abused by athletes. They have agreed to share information about the drugs with WADA, the article notes. Several other drug companies have given the agency information about specific drugs.
This trend represents a shift in drug companies’ thinking, said David Howman, Director General of WADA. In the past, they “felt that any publicity in relation to antidoping control would be negative,” he told the newspaper. “But what they discovered is the opposite happened.”
Last year, Glaxo sponsored testing laboratories for the Olympic Games in London. It was the first time an antidoping lab had a named corporate sponsor.
In the past, the relationship between anti-doping officials and drug companies has been strained. The New York Times notes Amgen, maker of the blood-enhancing drug EPO, sponsored the Tour of California when abuse of the drug was widespread among cyclists.
Last month, champion cyclist Lance Armstrong admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs during his career, and apologized for doing so during an interview with Oprah Winfrey. The winner of seven Tour de France victories, Armstrong strongly denied he used performance-enhancing drugs for many years.