At the conclusion of the London 2012 games, we were proud to have played our role in supporting the spirit of fair play through science.
Our contribution as the Official Laboratory Services Provider for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games involved working with King’s College London to provide facilities and equipment that allowed the expert analysts from King’s to independently operate a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory.
The goal of all partners was to make the London Olympic and Paralympic Games the cleanest possible. During the Games, more than 6000 anti-doping tests were carried out, which was greater than at any other Games. Every medalist who stepped on the podium during the Olympic Games and up to half of all competing athletes had been tested.
Being a science-led organisation, we were well placed to provide the testing facilities, offering one of our research and development sites located about 45 minutes north of the Olympic Park. This was the first time a pharmaceutical company had been involved in the provision of laboratory services for an Olympic or Paralympic Games.
In 2011 we signed a landmark agreement with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) to supply confidential information about medicines in early stage development that could be abused by athletes once they are licensed for patient use. This gives WADA a head start in creating tests for performance- enhancing substances before they reach the market, giving them a valuable head start in the race to beat the cheats.
One investigational compound we have provided information to WADA on is a compound known as GW501516. We had been previously investigating this experimental drug to raise HDL or “good” cholesterol in patients with dyslipidemia (abnormally high cholesterol in the blood). However, during preclinical animal safety studies of this experimental medicine, it was found to cause toxicities in mice and rats. All further development of GW501516 was stopped in 2006 and these findings were reported to regulatory authorities and presented at a scientific meeting.
GW501516 is not approved for use in humans and GSK does not manufacture or authorise its sale. In March 2013 WADA issued an alert after learning that GW501516 was being sold on the black market and being used by some athletes.
We do not support the use of unapproved medicines in any manner and through our work with agencies like WADA, we continue to play our role in helping to ensure that our licensed medicines are used safely and appropriately.
More about doping in sport
WADA leads a collaborative worldwide campaign for doping-free sport and is an international independent organisation. WADA was created in 1999 to promote, coordinate and monitor the fight against doping in sport in all its forms at international level. WADA is composed and funded equally by the Olympic movement and governments worldwide. Visit: www.wada-ama.org
UK Anti-Doping is the UK's National Anti-Doping Organisation and operates under the World Anti-Doping Code to implement the National Anti-Doping Policy. As the principal advisor to government, UK Anti-Doping is responsible for protecting sport from the threat of doping in the UK. This involves planning, implementing and monitoring the UK's anti-doping policy and implementing effective anti-doping programmes. Visit: www.ukad.org.uk
The Olympic and Paralympic Games are run under the International Olympic or Paralympic Committee Anti-Doping Rules. Testing at the 2012 Games was conducted by the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG). Visit: www.london2012.com