- Jul 11, 2013
Objective: Doping in sports now seems to be more widespread despite testing. The objective is to assess the
effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the current anti-doping system.
Methods: A probability and cost analysis was performed. Using calculations based on official world-level data of
positive doping test results, sensitivity and frequency of testing in 93 categories of sport, and estimates of numerical
characteristics (frequency, window of detectability, test predictability)
Results: A low probability of doping detection was demonstrated; 0.029 for doping once a week by a single random
test with average sensitivity (40%) and window of detectability of 48 hours. With 12 tests a year probability of detection of
continuous doping is ~33%. To detect 100% of doping in one year 16-50 tests per athlete must be done costing ~$25,000.
Conclusion: Testing is not economically viable for effective detection. Changes are thus required to the current
system to combat sophisticated doping techniques.
The primary conclusion that can be drawn from this research is that the current system of anti-doping is, given the realities of the sporting world, ineffective at reaching the desired goals.
This is assuming the primary goal of the anti-doping system is to eliminate doping, irrespective of whether this is because of the athletes health, fairnessand equality or natural ability arguments.
Furthermore, it would seem that should the current system of anti-doping remain, significant increases would need to be made in the testing levels; this in turn would require a significant increase in revenue for anti-doping collection and testing. This may be economically impossible and thus other solutions to the ubiquitous problem of doping may need to be sought, outside of individual scientific tests.
The alternative is to invest additional funds into the development of more advanced, efficient and effective tests for the detection of doping.
If it were possible to increase the test reliability,the window of detectability and the range of substances that could be detected, this would mean the increase of the number of tests could be more modest. Such an increase may well be affordable. On the other hand, this would still not eliminate the issues with test predictability or corruption and as such further demonstrates the current system needs work in order to become both efficient and effective in deterring and punishing doping. The ABP appears to be the solution to the problem but further analysis reveals that it has its shortcomings just like chemical testing.
Overall it would seem that the current system, as it stands, needs to be reconsidered and reworked in order to be effective and efficient.