Addis Ababa – A drugstore in Ethiopia that was selling banned substances to athletes across the road from the country’s main track stadium has been shut down while authorities investigate.
Ethiopia’s Anti-Doping Office says it has confirmed that the pharmacy was offering the blood-boosting substance EPO.
The anti-doping office says the drugstore has been forced to stop operating for three months pending an investigation. The head of the store has had his pharmaceutical license revoked for six months.
The investigation comes in response to an undercover report by British newspaper The Guardian and German broadcaster ARD, who said they found EPO was easily available at the pharmacy while Ethiopia’s national athletics championships took place across the road at the stadium in May.
The Ethiopian Anti-Doping Office says a preliminary probe found EPO on the pharmacy premises. The office said in a statement it confirmed that “it sold banned substances to athletes.”
The news puts Ethiopia in the anti-doping spotlight once again after it was ordered by the IAAF and World Anti-Doping Agency to carry out more doping tests on its top athletes last year.
There are fears that banned substances are easily available in Ethiopia, just like East African neighbour Kenya, which has been plagued by a spike in doping over the last five years.
That, coupled with weak anti-doping controls from authorities, has seriously undermined the distance-running success of the two countries.