Doping: Sports Minister Anurag Thakur & NADA launch an app

Dr. Chandran acknowledges that while the app won't completely end doping, it is a step in the right direction.

Anurag Thakur addresses a conference (Courtesy: Anurag Thakur/Twitter)
By Abhiruchi Rout | Apr 14, 2023 | 2 Min Read follow icon Follow Us

Indian athletes can now utilize a new smartphone app called KYM: Know Your Medicine to verify whether their prescribed medication includes prohibited ingredients. Anurag Thakur, India’s Minister of Sports, and the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) launched the app, which offers details about prescription drugs and the compounds they contain that are prohibited. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and NADA all have lists of prohibited performance-enhancing drugs on their own websites, but the app lets athletes search for drugs by brand name. By allowing athletes to directly verify whether the medications they are supplied include prohibited substances, the app intends to address the problem of “over the counter” doping in Indian sports.

Dr. PSM Chandran, the former director of sports science at the Sports Authority of India, claims that the app will put an end to the common defense used by athletes who claim they were not aware of the ingredients in their prescription. However, some athletes, particularly those from rural and tribal communities, might not be familiar with the ingredients in their given medications. Furthermore, since doctors are not experts in doping, there are times when they may not know whether a drug they give contains prohibited chemicals or not. KYM: Know Your Medicine intends to address this issue by offering athletes an easy-to-use app for medication monitoring.

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Athletes using drugs unintentionally

There have been cases in the past where athletes have consumed brand-name medications, often on prescription by a doctor, without knowing whether the ingredients in them were banned or not. When athletes eventually fail a dope test, this is one of the common excuses they provide in front of anti-dope appeal panels which determine the extent of their punishment. Dr. Chandran cites an example from two decades ago when a high-profile badminton player failed a dope test after taking ‘over the counter’ cough and cold medication called D’Cold Total. The medication contained Phenylpropanolamine, a WADA-banned substance during that time.

Dr. Chandran acknowledges that while the app won’t completely end Doping, it is a step in the right direction. The app will need to be updated on a regular basis as new pharmaceuticals enter the market and new compounds are added or removed from the restricted list. One aspect of the doping problem is inadvertent doping using ‘over-the-counter’ medication. But ‘over the counter’ drugs do not account for the large amount of doping cases in India. Additionally, some athletes willfully use illegal substances. KYM: Know Your Medicine can be downloaded in both English and Hindi. The frequency of doping cases in Indian sports may go down if it is made possible for Indian athletes to search for medications by brand name.

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