Drug companies have a presence at this year’s Winter Olympics, as many have teamed up with event officials in order to stop doping. To prevent doping in the Olympics, pharmaceutical companies are voluntarily providing information that once would have been closely guarded.
Companies including Roche, Amgen, and GlaxoSmithKline have all opted to share what is being called “confidential research and data” in order to prevent cheating. Olympics officials enlisted the help of drug companies because of the increasing levels of sophistication in drugs which athletes use to cheat the system.
The unprecedented sharing of information comes under a deal with multiple drug companies and the Biotech Industry Organization, initiated by the World Anti-Doping Authority in 2011. Under the terms of the agreement, drug companies could voluntarily share information about potential drugs that might be used by athletes in an effort to artificially boost performance. There is no compulsory information sharing about particular drugs or drug development.
The World-Anti Doping Authority is looking for drugs that are more difficult to obtain, many of which have origins in pharmaceutical research laboratories. Because of financial constraints, the anti-doping community knows that there is a real need for collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry. "We need the help and assistance of the legitimate pharmaceutical industry," says Dr. Don Catlin, who once headed the UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory. "We have to have access to their clinical trials and drug standards before we can develop at a test."
Oliver Rabin, Science Director at the World-Anti Doping Authority, believes that a partnership with the drug industry is critical to keeping athletic events honest in the coming years. “If you want to predict the future of doping it's essential that you have collaborations with the pharmas.”