GSK advocates greater supply chain security for trial drugs ahead of 2012 Olympics

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Securing supply chains and limiting access to manufacturing data can help stop clinical-stage drugs being abused in sport according to UK drug major GSK.

The firm, whose facility in Harlow, Essex will house the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) testing lab during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games, told that while many drugs can be abused in sport, trial-stage compounds are at particular risk.

GSK spokeswoman Diana Evans said:There is always the potential for the illegitimate use of medicines by a minority of athletes seeking advantage in sport.

"GSK does have marketed drugs that fall within the categories specified in WADA’s prohibited substance list. However, we don’t have information on whether any of these have been targeted by sports cheats​.

"Drugs in development are particularly attractive to doping abusers as they believe that they will be undetectable by anti-doping testing."

Evans explained that, with this in mind, for candidates with the potential for abuse GSK asks study monitors and investigators to be extra vigilant in the control of clinical supplies and destruction or return of unused materials.

Additionally”​ she continued “if clinical trial supplies go missing, or are unaccounted for, WADA would be notified​.”

Harlow’s future?

The GSK Harlow facility that will house the main analysis laboratory during next year’s events has been earmarked for closure since 2010​.

Evans told that: “GSK is officially a Tier 3 Provider for the London 2012 Games," ​adding that “In terms of a material contribution, GSK will provide facilities and equipment to enable King’s College London to operate a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) accredited laboratory during the London 2012 Games."

During the games the lab will operate 24-hours a day from July to early September next year.

The joint WADA - King's College London research team, led by Professor David Cowan from the Drug Control Centre at King’s College London, is expected to test more than 6,000 samples from athletes competing in the two events.

After this the facility’s future is unclear. Evans said that: “GSK is looking at a number of options as to the whether the laboratory in Harlow can stay in existence and fulfil a need beyond 2012​."

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