Drug maker Pfizer joins forces with WADA

The World Anti-Doping Agency today announced it has signed an agreement with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to share information that will help keep its new drugs from being abused by athletes for performance enhancement.

The two-way agreement allows WADA to share with Pfizer information about which substances are being abused, and in return Pfizer will keep track of which of its drugs under development have potential performance-enhancing properties, and share confidential scientific data with WADA to assist in the development of test to detect the drugs.

Cooperation between drug makers and anti-doping authorities is not new: Amgen helped US anti-doping scientists develop a test for its blood booster Aranesp ahead of the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002.

Roche collaborated with WADA on testing for its EPO drug, Mircera, or CERA, which eventually led to bans in 2008 for Riccardo Ricco, Davide Rebellin, Stefan Schumacher and Bernhard Kohl.

In 2011, WADA announced a similar partnership with Glaxo Smithkline (GSK) to share information on drugs which could be abused for performance enhancement. The agency did not reveal whether the four athletes from Costa Rica found positive for GW501516 resulted from the arrangement with GSK.

"A central aspect of WADA's strategy is to collaborate with pharmaceutical companies so that medicinal substances of interest to dopers can be identified," WADA Director General, David Howman said. "In turn, this will allow us to develop detection methods at a much faster rate. Striking this partnership with Pfizer is a win-win for both parties, and comes at a crucial time with the introduction of the revised World Anti-Doping Code just weeks away."

WADA has been working to formalize the information sharing with the pharmaceutical industry since it signed a joint declaration with the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations in July 2010, the 'Cooperation in the Fight against Doping in Sport'.

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