Meldonium for sale under the trademark Mildronat. The drug, manufactured by Grindeks, is used in heart disease therapy. Meldonium was added to the World Anti-Doping Agency's banned list on January 1, 2016.Donat Sorokin/TASS
Russia’s prime minister has signed a decree expanding the list of substances which, if detected in an athlete’s blood or urine, could lead to criminal prosecution, reports RBK. Anabolic agents, peptide hormones, metabolic modulators, growth factors, and mimetics are now illegal. However, the document also drops criminal liability for athletes caught taking the drug meldonium – used to treat angina and lack of blood flow in the body – which was banned by the world’s anti-doping agency WADA in 2015.
Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova was barred from competing after taking the drug last year, claiming she didn’t know it had been blacklisted by WADA. It’s believed meldonium can improve exercise capacity and enhance performance in athletes.
Medvedev’s move follows the doping scandal that hit the country last year, resulting in Russia’s track and field team being blocked from the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. Methods including blood manipulation and gene doping have also been made illegal.
Medvedev said it would "help reduce the risk of anti-doping rule violations by athletes, increase the responsibility of coaches, specialists in sports medicine, and other specialists in the field of physical culture and sports."
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