Athletics athlete Cassie Fien receives sanction

7 February 2018

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) today acknowledged the decision of Athletics Australia to impose a nine month ban on athlete Cassie Fien for the presence and use of a prohibited substance, as the result of ingesting a contaminated supplement.

ASADA collected an out-of-competition sample from Ms Fien on 20 April 2017. Her sample was analysed at the Australian Sports Drug Testing Laboratory, part of the National Measurement Institute, which detected the presence of Higenamine.

Higenamine is banned at all times under the S3 class of Beta-2 Agonists on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s Prohibited List 2017. It is increasingly being detected in dietary supplements but is not always listed as Higenamine on ingredient labels. It has also appeared under the name Nandina domestica, Tinospora crispa, Norcoclaurine or Demethylcoclaurine.

Ms Fien accepted the sanction and waived her right to a hearing. Although athletes are solely responsible for all substances in their bodies, Ms Fien’s sanction was reduced to nine months on the basis of her degree of fault and the fact that the supplement, ‘Liporush’, was a contaminated product. The sanction was also backdated to 9 August 2017, the date Ms Fien accepted an optional provisional suspension.

The decision means she is ineligible to participate, as an athlete or support person, in any sports that have adopted a World Anti-Doping Code compliant anti-doping policy until 9 May 2018. 

ASADA’s longstanding advice is that athletes can never be 100% certain that any supplement is free from prohibited substances. Due to poor regulation of the industry, supplements companies are not required to prove that their products are safe, effective or even accurately labelled.

ASADA has issued a number of warnings about Higenamine and supplements more broadly, including advice that up to 1 in 5 Australian supplements contain prohibited substances, often not listed on labels.

To reduce their risk of testing positive, ASADA recommends athletes consider not taking supplements at all, or if required, that they choose low-risk products which have been batch tested by an independent  auditing company. Further information is available on the ASADA website: https://www.asada.gov.au/news/athlete-warning-higenamine-supplements

 

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