Yusuf Pathan made no mention of cough syrup in doping control form

Yusuf Pathan was found to have violated the BCCI’s anti-doping rules and handed a five-month ban.

WORLD CUP winner Yusuf Pathan was found to have violated the BCCI’s anti-doping rules and handed a five-month ban. While the BCCI felt that Pathan made an ‘honest mistake’, the fact that the cricketer could not recall the name of the cough syrup which supposedly contained the banned substance, trace the bottle or provide the sale record raises questions about how careful he was

How did Pathan violate BCCI’s anti-doping rules?
Terbutaline, a prohibited drug according to WADA, was found in a urine sample collected from Pathan as part of the routine in-competition doping control procedure that the BCCI and all other cricket boards follow around the world. The sample had been taken by IDTM—the independent service provider that the BCCI employs for this purpose—on March 16, 2017 right after Pathan had appeared for Baroda against Tamil Nadu in a Vijay Hazare Trophy at New Delhi. As per protocol, the sample was then forwarded to the WADA-accredited National Dope Testing Laboratory which reported the presence of the prohibited substance on April 12 that year.

What is terbutaline? 
Terbutaline is one of four drugs that are used in the treatment for a very athlete-specific type of asthma called exercise-induced bronchoconstriction (EIB). It’s considered athlete-specific since athletes and sportspersons are traditionally more exposed to asthma triggers like dust and pollution. Terbutaline though also often is present in certain cough syrups for the purpose of opening clogged airways. But researchers have found evidence that high doses of the drug can enhance strength and power and in some cases provide extra bursts of power without the need for excess oxygen. Athletes who do suffered from EIB, however, can use terbutaline after having procured a “therapeutic use exemption” or TUE. A TUE is basically an exception provided to athletes to use a prohibited substance because it’s the only one available to treat a particular condition or illness.

Did Pathan apply for a TUE? 
According to the “decision and reasoning of Yusuf Pathan’s case” provided by the BCCI, the Baroda all-rounder claimed to have ingested the drug inadvertantly—through “mistakenly” consuming a non-prescribed cough syrup. WADA does allow for a “retroactive” TUE to be obtained (only in emergency cases) but Pathan admitted to not suffering from asthma and even “expressed shock” at the findings. The case was then forwarded to an indepedent review board as per protocol but since there was no case for a TUE, Pathan had to depose to how the drug entered his system.

So how did the substance actually enter his system?
According to his deposition and witness statements from Baroda physio Sudip Banerjee and manager Dev Jadhav, Pathan had fallen ill on March 13, 2017 and diagnosed with “fever, cough and cold” by the hotel’s consulting doctor Anil Kumar. The medicines he prescribed included “Azithromycin, Sinarest, Pantoprazole” and “Zeet Expectorant, the cough syrup that doesn’t contain terbulatine”. A hotel employee was then sent by manager Jadhav to buy the medicines but he was unable to get the prescribed syrup. When sent to another medical shop to try his luck, the hotel employee returned with a substitute syrup, which was recommended by the chemist. Pathan is then learnt to have taken “two teaspoons” of the alternate on two separate occasions. The prohibited substance is alleged to have been ingested through this “unnamed cough syrup”.

What was Pathan’s defence?
During every sample collection session—regardless of whether it’s in-competition or out-of-competition—athletes have to fill a doping control form in which they have to declare all the medicines and supplements that they’ve ingested in the seven days leading up. Interestingly, the report says that while Pathan did list all the other medications prescribed to him along with a few others like “Crocin and Azithral-500” there was “no mention of a cough syrup”. Pathan excused himself claiming that the physio, Banerjee, had filled the form citing his own limited knowledge of English and perhaps “inadvertently omitted to mention all the medications”.

When later asked, Pathan and Jadhav both failed to recall the name of the cough syrup that he had consumed or manage to track down the bottle which contained it. They also couldn’t find the hotel employee who’d purchased the medicines or manage to find the sale record from the medical shop. Pathan then submitted that “the cough syrup supplied by the second chemist must have been ‘Bro Zeet” which does contain terbutaline and is produced by the same company as Zeet Expectorant.

How did the BCCI view Pathan’s defence?
If the BCCI had managed to prove that Pathan had ingested the prohibited substance with an “intent to cheat” then it would have called for a mandatory “four-year ban” on the former Kolkata Knight Riders star. Since they were satisfied by Pathan’s deposition that it was by “No Fault or Negligence” in terms of he not having taken the drug “intentionally” it called for a ban between 0-24 months. According to the BCCI, the points in Pathan’s favour were that he hadn’t ingested the drug to “enhance his sports performance”, had not “self-medicated” and consulted a qualified doctor who prescribed him with medicines that did not contain any prohibited substance. The BCCI felt that it was “an honest mistake, made in good faith”. Pathan though was found to have not shown “utmost caution” as in he didn’t check the medicine the hotel employee had bought before consuming it, despite having not been one that had been prescribed to him. Cricketers are well-advised about the risks of the existence of certain prohibited substances in routine medicines. And Pathan also didn’t take note of the fact that the cough syrup he had mentioned “terbulatine” as one of its ingredients.

Why BCCI decided upon the five-month duration and why was it back-dated?
The BCCI found that Pathan, who’d been tested five times previously with no findings, had “departed from the rigorous standard of utmost caution” but it wasn’t “significant” enough which lessened the degree of his fault. Moreover, the fact that he accepted the outcome and waived his option to appeal the charge meant that he saved the “BCCI time and money that it could deploy elsewhere in its anti-doping efforts”.

The report then says that “potential comparator cases” were considered and the five-month duration was fixed for the ban. Pathan’s “prompt admission” and “delays in the results management in the case not attributable to him”are the reasons stated for the BCCI to use the prescribed discretion to back-date the ban, which means that it is deemed to have started on August 15, 2017 and ends on January 14, 2018. Pathan last played a match on October 17, a Ranji Trophy match against Andhra and has since been serving his ban.

He will, however, be part of the IPL auctions later this month.

COURTESY BY: http://indianexpress.com

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