In response the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has joined with athletic groups and UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) in a week-long education campaign about the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) prohibited stimulant that has provoked hundreds of doping infringements among elite athletes this decade.
Just last week the Jamaican sprinter Nesta Carter had a 4x100m gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympaid stripped from him by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after retrospective testing found DMAA (methylhexaneamine/1,3-dimethylamylamine) in his sample. The whole Jamaican team, including triple Olympic 100m and 200m champion Usain Bolt, was stripped of its gold medal.
The MHRA joined many regulators around the world in banning the substance in 2012 – but its surveillance teams have acted against DMAA products since, including seven “online and physical retailers last year”, according to a spokesperson.
He did not name names but said no legal action had been taken against the retailers, although individuals could “face up to two years in prison and unlimited fines.”
‘Voluntary compliance’ was more common.
Week of Action
The week-long initiatve involved education via social media channels, health and fitness bloggers and sporting group buy-in.
“As always, we will continue to take robust action when unlicensed medicinal products containing DMAA come to our attention,” said Dr Chris Jones, MHRA Medicines Borderline Section Manger.
Dr Adam Carey, chair of the European Specialised Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA) said “the dangers of consuming DMAA are significant and well-proven. We urge all sportspeople to avoid it at all costs – and emphasise that sportsmen and woman can only do this by making sure they’re only buying their sports supplements from responsible and reputable retailers.”
Nicole Sapstead, UKAD Chief Executive said “Any athlete who takes supplements containing DMAA in-competition – either deliberately or inadvertently - is not only risking their career, but is also risking their health.”
“Our advice on supplements is simple – protect yourself and your career by maximising your nutrition, and thoroughly researching any product you are, or are considering, taking.”
DMAA was banned after doubts grew earlier this decade about whether it is sourced from the geranium plant or synthetically manufactured, along with safety concerns including high blood pressure, nausea, cerebral haemorrhage, stroke and death.
People with concerns can email the MHRA at firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_self">email@example.com.