Modified article

Meldonium is available mainly in Eastern Europe. It is logical that the positive cases, after it has been banned since January 1, come from those regions.


Professor Harm Kuipers, a member of the medical committee of the international skating federation ISU, believes meldonium has been placed on the doping list  for political reasons.  According to Kuipers, there is no evidence that meldonium  has a performance-enhancing effect.

Harm Kuipers, is a professor of sports medicine at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. He knows from experience how an agent ends up on the doping list. Between 2000 and 2003 he was a member of the List Committee, a commission of specialists who compose the doping list each year on behalf of WADA.

Harm Kuipers

Why should meldonium be considered as doping from 1 January?
Meldonium is prescribed for heart failure and it would also improve stamina. According to Harm Kuipers meldonium has already been on the radar of WADA for long. Tests showed that the drug was excessively widely used in recent years by Eastern European athletes. The WADA List Committee has evaluated that meldonium as required, meet at least two of the three criteria. Those are:

  • Does meldonium enhance performance?
  • Is meldonium a health risk?
  • Is the use of meldonium contrary to the ethics of sport?

Harm Kuipers has serious doubts about the efficacy of meldonium because hard evidence for this is completely missing. There are two studies on meldonium published in journals that are scientifically null and void. As a member of the WADA List Committee I would have called for a proper investigation into the functioning of meldonium while I would start an extensive information campaign to warn against the use of meldonium. But at this moment I consider placing meldonium on the doping list far too premature.

According to Harm Kuipers meldonium came on the doping list on the basis of political considerations. In my time as member of the WADA List Committee I managed to get caffeine from the list. That was almost also succeeded by the corticosteroids, until the last moment the IOC that funds WADA, objected. As a result, my membership of the List Committee was terminated and to me those of other liberal supporters. My opinion and my experience about WADA and its committee is clear: “WADA lacks courage and vision in the composition of the doping list”.

Meldonium is in Eastern Europe, a registered drug, which is also prescribed for mood swings and memory loss. In Russia it is freely available, without a prescription. In Europe and America it is not  registered and is meldonium a prohibited drug.

The large number of positive cases have surprised me because the athletes are informed in advance  about the new doping list. But if you do not read your email as Sharapova said then it can go wrong. But in that case you would expect that the supervisors were more alert.

Mildronate or Meldonium

Meldonium is on the doping list since January 1, 2016 because it would have a positive effect on endurance. In Eastern Europe it is used by people with heart failure.

In the United States and the European Union doctors cannot prescribe the drug because meldonium in these countries is not registered as medicine. Athletes from Europe and America must therefore move to a country where meldonium is registered as a medicine.

Is it worthwhile when a healthy athlete takes meldonium?

The manufacturer – the Latvian pharmaceutical company Grindeks – says on its website it is.

But no research has been published to the effect in healthy sports people. That study was done only by untrained people with heart diseases. They improve a very little bit on an exercise test on an ergometer, but the effort of this untrained person  is so small that it cannot compare with a sports effort. Probably by taking meldonium the number of mitochondria, or energy factories in muscle cells, increases. Untrained people may benefit, but for serious training, the number of mitochondria are already applied in muscle cells. In them will meldonium therefore have no value.

The claim that improves brain function in humans cannot be controlled. On that only one study in rats was published. They learned, with a daily dose of meldonium, how to avoid electric shocks somewhat better.


Politicaly motivated means on improper grounds.


WADA will be internally and externally increasingly criticized. That is absolutely right when you see the list of complaints in the article WADA.


In August 2015 Hajo Seppelt, investigative journalist of German TV-station ARD, broadcasts  the second part of a trilogy,  on doping conditions in Russian athletics and the rotten system, including corrupt officials, which formed the basis. The first part was published in December 2014. The main conclusion that WADA had failed completely in this matter was more than obvious. Even worse, without this masterpiece of investigative journalism, absolutely nothing would have happened up to now.

WADA responded to the TV broadcast, as always, very shocked and asked a commission of inquiry headed by former WADA president Dick Pound. This Commission of Inquiry had the predicate independent, which of course was a big lie. The work of Pound and his committee was particularly easy because all the work and research was done by Seppelt. In November 2015, Pound’s report came out and WADA took all the credit to them. That was quite convenient for WADA it makes them important and in this way they were able to demonstrate their indispensability to the world. In other words, with this report, WADA could justify its own undermining existence.


The information Seppelt showed  in his TV  broadcasts and with the impending investigation of Pound, which was based thereon, WADA took, in September 2015, the decision to put meldonium on the doping list. Not because meldonium met one of the criteria needed  to be placed on the list. After all, there was no scientific evidence that meldonium improved performance. And also meldonium appeared to have no adverse effects on health. And the third criterium that meldonium is contrary to the ethics of sport is not credible for an agent that was legally used for 25 years.

So WADA looked for other arguments. An argument that keeps coming back is the fact that meldonium was widely used by mainly Russian athletes. WADA  often checks  medications  that are not on the prohibited list. This has happened for many years with the painkiller tramadol and last year (2015) also with meldonium. Those agents then enter the so-called monitor list. Meldonium was indeed frequently used by Russian athletes in 2015. But that is an invalid argument that not should be used   to place it on the doping list.

For me WADA therefore should be compared to a criminal organization that does more harm than good, but who can afford everything from their ivory tower. According to my  knowledge there is no authority that controls WADA.

Mildronate findings in official doping control samples (n=8320) and distribution between in- and out of competition samples (IC/OOC), gender (f=female; m=male)and type of sports (team sports, endurance sports, strength sports, others).

Meldonium was placed on the doping list in September 2015. According to Harm Kuipers on political grounds, as you can read in this article. WADA knew that this action would have a large number of positive cases as a result. Indeed, in 2009, exactly the same thing happened with methylhexanamine, a party drug that is in between amphetamine and ephedrine. After methylhexanamine was placed on the doping list on January 1, 2009 dozens of athletes across the world tested positively to this. They also could have known in advance that methylhexanamine was on the doping list. Exactly the same is now happening with meldonium.

WADA has therefore knowingly played a dirty trick on the Russians. WADA namely saw the opportunity to clean up after the broadcasts by Seppelt and the subsequent plagiarist report by Dick Pound and to burden the Russians with a big problem. This was the image that the Russian sport of cunning, fraud and doping just needed. If you know how long tramadol is now on the monitor list, and that meldonium only after one year (2015) on the monitor list was shifted head over heels to the prohibited list, just that is enough evidence to accuse WADA of ill will. In other words, the doping authorities, in particular WADA, cause much more harm to the sports community than the drugs themselves.