IOC Finds Many Supplements Contain Unlisted BannedSubstances

May 6, 2002

2 Min Read
IOC Finds Many Supplements Contain Unlisted BannedSubstances

IOC Finds Many Supplements Contain Unlisted BannedSubstances

BRUSSELS--Even though the 2002 WinterOlympics are over, the problems facing world-class athletes are not. Today, theInternational Olympic Committee (IOC) reported that in a test of approximately600 nutritional supplements, 15 percent contained banned substances that werenot listed on the product labels. As a result, the IOC reiterated a warning toathletes against using these substances and strengthened its call for industryand government quality control measures.

Of 634 non-hormonal supplements manufactured in 13countries, 15 percent (94 products) contained unlisted substances that wouldhave caused an athlete to test positive during a doping test. Of these products,23 contained precursors of both testosterone and nandrolone, 64 containedprecursors of testosterone alone and seven had nandrolone precursors. Another 10percent (66 products) returned borderline results for various unlabeledsubstances.

Based on the sheer number of "positive" products,the United States had the most, with 45 out of 240 products (19 percent).Germany had the second highest number of failed products--15 out of 129 (11.6percent). The Netherlands had the highest percentage of "positive"products with 26 percent (8 out of 31 products).

For Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of the UnitedStates-based testing firm,, these results were not surprisingconsidering what he is seeing in's Athletic Banned SubstancesScreening Program. "However, it was very interesting to see that productsfrom other countries also fared poorly. Most surprising was Germany's fail rateof 11.6 percent, since the [German government] regulates supplements likedrugs," he told INSIDER.

According to a statement, the IOC hopes the results of thisstudy will demonstrate the need for better quality control procedures--such aspharmaceutical-grade manufacturing--for these supplements.'s vice president for research, WilliamObermeyer, Ph.D., pointed out that the U.S. government's pending GoodManufacturing Practices (GMPs) may decrease, but not completely eliminate,quality issues for these products. "First, it will still be up to themanufacturers to employ GMPs properly and, as it now stands, the GMPs may notinclude testing of finished products," he said. "Second, the level ofa banned substance needed to cause disqualification of an athlete could still bepermissible under the GMPs as these levels are not necessarily unsafe.Even drug GMPs allow for levels as much as 100 times that which could lead to apositive screen for an athlete."

The IOC also plans to recommend to National OlympicCommittees, International Federations and Organizing Committees to exercisecaution when forming relationships with supplement companies that may haveproducts of questionable quality. The release can be found at

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