Banned Steroid Found in 20 Percent of Supplements

By John Goodbody

LONDON, Sept. 20. NEARLY 40 of 200 over-the-counter food supplements tested in one of the world's leading drugs laboratories contain nandrolone, the controversial anabolic steroid, it emerged last night. The research in Cologne confirms work done in Britain, showing that some supplements are likely to be to
blame for the frequent findings in recent years of nandrolone.

Dr Patrick Schamasch, the medical officer of the IOC, admitted yesterday: "It is much higher than we thought it would be." The IOC had sponsored the research at its accredited laboratory in Germany and is expected to test about 600 different food supplements bought in shops round the world. However, nearly 20 per cent of the 200 so far analyzed have shown traces of nandrolone.

Schamasch said that none of these food supplements carried warnings that they might contain a substance banned in most international sports. He said, though, that there would be no IOC approved list of food supplements in the near future.

He added: "We have to meet with the lawyers. Such a list could be a legal minefield." He said that even while one sample of a brand name might not contain a banned substance, another specimen from another country could contain nandrolone.

Among the most recent cases involving nandrolone are Edgar Davids and Frank de Boer, the Holland international soccer players, both of whom tested
positive after matches earlier this year. Both received suspensions, with each player pleading his innocence. (Several swimmers have also tested positive for nandralone, also insisting that they took no illegal substances.)

Schamasch also said yesterday that all endurance races at the 2002 Winter Olympics would be tested for EPO, the drug that helps competitors in long-distance events.

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