AHPA welcomes “openness” of USADA

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: American herbal products, World anti-doping agency

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has welcomed a newfound willingness on the part of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) to engage openly with the dietary supplements industry.

As USADA works towards a new platform that will advise athletes about supplements use due for completion by the end of the summer, Steven Dentali, PhD, the chief scientific officer at the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) said he was encouraged by the openness of Amy Eichner, PhD, who is heading up the program at USADA.

Dentali and the AHPA, like others in the dietary supplements space, have expressed frustration in the past that USADA did not consult with it enough when developing positions and programs.

“We have made a good connection with Amy Eichner and have supplied monographs and we are encouraged by this,” ​he said.

Eichner, PhD, told NutraIngredients-USA.com good relations with trade groups were “vital”.

“They are improving all the time and are part of an ongoing process but we are open to feedback on our programs – indeed we seek it. We hope they will be involved in our educational program and we are contacting them when we feel we need to.”

She said the new platform would update USADA’s advice about supplements which it still officially warns against.

“But we know that athletes want to use supplements, so if they are going to use them we want to help them choose the safest ones and the types of DS to steer clear of,” ​Eichner said.

Difficult to decipher

The new platform will include a negative list of substances and products that are known to contravene USADA testing protocols. It will also include advice on how to read labels that Eichner said can be, “difficult to decpipher”.

“It is unrealistic to expect athletes to know what is what.”

She said ingredients such as geranium, methylhexnamine, betel nut and nandoline had flared on its radar of late.

But a positive list was not on the cards because there were too many products and testing protocols could never guarantee 100 percent that a product was safe.

Industry has criticized USADA for not doing enough to bring sporting groups it has formed official alliances with such as the NFL, NBA, MLB, US Olympic Committee (USOC) into line with its own anti-drug protocols.

Industry believes stricter drug-testing may make it more difficult for athletes to blame dietary supplements if they are one of the unlucky that are found to be in breach USADA testing.

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