September 25, 2020

Therapeutic Use Exemptions for Anabolic Steroids in Baseball

Major League Baseball has allowed some baseball players to use anabolic steroids as “androgen deficiency medication” treatment according to testimony at the congressional hearing entitled “The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball.” In 2006, three players were permitted to use “androgen deficiency medications” under the therapeutic use exemption.  In 2007, only two players were permitted to use anabolic steroids to treat this condition. Therapeutic use exemptions for amphetamines and related “ADD/ADHD medications” jumped from 28 in 2006 to 103 in 2007.

Therapeutic Use Exemptions for Performance Enhancing Drugs

I’ve previously discussed known loopholes for testosterone use in drug testing programs. And of course, the fact that growth hormone use is undetectable via drug testing urinalysis makes it an easy and attractive drug for the athlete seeking performance enhancement.

Just as problematic is the loophole of “therapeutic use exemptions” (TUE) for performance-enhancing drugs on the banned substance list. In many cases, an athlete can use performance enhancing drugs (even steroids) with impugnity if they are granted a TUE for a medically documented condition.

The therapeutic use loophole is not widely publicized by WADA and other drug testing organizations because it does not contribute to the appearance of an effective drug testing program and a “clean sport.” [Read more…]