01 December 2010

Go get the Dealers

Doping Investigation may be targeting the Distributors
This is a very interesting change of direction. There is a definite shift in tracking down those who manufacture, test, order, distribute, sell, handle, and transport doping products to athletes. From the Grand Jury questioning in California has emerged an investigation to weed out the channels that distribute performance enhancing drugs and products
The search and seizure of Yaroslav Popovych's home and computer, the investigation of American drug dealer Joe Papp, the recent raid in Brittany by French Police after suspicious trash was found at the 2010 Tour de France, and a shift in the investigation of Lance Armstrong are clear signs that officials are questioning and searching for a broad ring of individuals involved. 
This is brilliant, much more affective and far reaching than going after a few well-known racers at the top. This approach will reveal many more names and places. I thought this one sentence describing the jurisdiction and purpose of the USFDA in a recent CyclingNews article explained it all: "Their mandate is to approve trials for new drugs, monitor administration and the distribution of new drugs. They look at the import and export of drugs from the US."
I remember when I worked as a researcher for a Nephrology (kidney disease) practice, we worked with Aranesp (a newer longer lasting Epogen) (Epogen is similar to Procrit). We had hundreds of vials of Aranesp is our refrigerator. We were required to keep and provide documents on the storage temperatures of the refrigerators (EPO needs to be refrigerated), and the administration dates and amounts to every patient. The drug distributor expected us to provide reports to the drug handling and usage. We had very strict guidelines for testing new drugs, and all patient drug trials. I have always wondered over the years how people were getting easy access to a drug that I experienced as having such tight controls. Maybe similar paper trails exist (with a little cooperation) for these and newer drugs.
When I worked in the Dialysis Centers we would joke that reportedly there were a greater number of Nephrologists in Italy Per capita than any other country (Physicians working with kidney disease treat patients with EPO because Epogen was designed to mock the glycoprotein hormone Erythropoetin naturally produced in the kidneys which stimulates the creation of red blood cells, without it, patients are anemic). Of course there are known drug thefts (like the theft of EPO prior to the Olympics in Australia), illegal prescriptions written, illegal distribution of medications, and drugs used outside of approved FDA guidelines, but perhaps this is precisely why the US Food and Drug Administration is involved. I get it. They are not only going after the users, they are going after the dealers.

A thought: The Grand Jury investigating Lance Armstrong is seated in Los Angeles, California, on the case is the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California Doug Miller, Amgen's home offices are located in Thousand Oaks, California. Amgen manufactures and distributes Aranesp, Epogen, and Neupogen. I would be curious to learn which new drugs are currently in clinical trial. 
Another thought: I think my brother is right in wondering how drugs manufactured in the United States are transported to Europe.
French police carry out doping operation in Normandy By Cycling News, Published: December 1, 11:53, December 1, 12:06 Updated
Individual doping likely not the focus of FDA US Postal investigation says source By:Daniel Benson, Published: November 29, 22:09,November 30, 03:15 Updated:
Italian police search Popovych's home in Tuscany By: Stephen Farrand Published: November 13, 11:27, November 13, 14:30 Updated: