Roche: No Planted Molecule in Mircera
Contrary to reported statements made by WADA president John Fahey to the Australian Broadcasting Corp., Roche now clarifies to Bloomberg that the company did not plant a molecule in Mircera to aid detection of the drug in athletes. The drug was evidently identified in cyclist Riccardo Ricco because "WADA received the molecule well in advance and was able to develop ways to detect it, including through the current EPO detection method," commented the agency.
In an online statement, Roche writes that it provided samples of Mircera, which is functionally and structurally different from endogenous erythropoietin and all other erythropoiesis-stimulating agents, and assay reagents to WADA to ensure that the agency could conduct reliable testing.
Unfortunately it remains unclear whether Fahey misspoke to (or was misinterpreted by) the Australian news source or WADA is backtracking for reasons of trade secrecy.
WADA = World Anti-Doping Agency.
Update: Expect a whole lot more doping news in the near future. NBC's Olympics web site reports that US swimmer Jessica Hardy, 21, tested positive for the banned β2 adrenergic agonist clenbuterol. Tests for the substance on 2 samples from July 4 were both positive, but samples from July 1 and July 6 were negative, reveals the web site. According to Wikipedia, the half-life of clenbuterol is approximately 37 hours.