Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Roche Helps Catch Tour de France Cheater

I loved this story posted in Pharmalot today.

The company's scientists cooperated with the doping authorities by cleverly adding an extra innocuous molecule in their long acting EPO product, Continuous Erythropoiesis Receptor Activator (CERA). This would then be traceable in the blood tests taken during the Tour de France.

Team CSC in the 2004 TTT.Image via WikipediaYou could see where the cyclists were going - if the drug was released more slowly into the body, they might escape detection while still gaining the benefits. Little did they know that effectively they were taking a marked product and the authorities would have incontrovertible proof of cheating.

Nice one!

What do you think? I'd love to see the makers of regular EPO (Amgen, Johnson and Johnson) and steroids follow suit - it's a simple but elegant solution that does not harm the users who do need benefit for legitimate means.

Is this an example of science and sport in perfect harmony, or not? Should we have more of it or is it an infringement on your rights?

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