Maria Sharapova and Katusha cyclist Eduard Vorganov are just two of more than 100 athletes worldwide to test positive for meldonium in the first three months of 2016


Since it was banned on January 1, 2016, more than 100 athletes around the world have tested positive for meldonium.

While tennis player Maria Sharapova is the most high profile athlete to fall foul of the new drug laws, dozens of other athletes from a host of sports have also been caught out.

On March 11, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced that 99 athletes had failed tests for the drug, which is used to treat heart conditions, with four more positives announced on Monday.

Monday’s revelations bring the total number of Russian athletes banned for the drug up to 16, including Sharapova, speed skating Olympic gold-medallist Semion Elistratov and Katusha cyclist Eduard Vorganov.

Sharapova took the surprising step to announce a press conference to reveal that she had tested positive for meldonium, stating that she had been prescribed the drug by her family doctor for years. She then claimed not to have seen that the drug had been banned by WADA on January 1.

>>> Bradley Wiggins on Maria Sharapova positive: ‘There is no excuse’

But ignorance and naivity cannot be behind all of the positive tests. The BBC‘s Matt Slater tweeted on Monday that the Latvian manufacturer of meldonium, Grindeks, say the drug takes “several months” to leave your system, which, if true, could explain the high number of positives.

Some people are also questioning why the drug has been banned in the first place, with its performance-enhancing nature not fully clear.

But a WADA spokesman said the banned substance list “is updated annually and with a full and thorough consultation period with experts and stakeholders.”

“A substance or method may be added to the list of it meets two of the following three criteria: enhances performance; detrimental to the health of the athlete; contrary to the spirit of sport.”

Many of the athletes who have tested positive remain anonymous because their cases are still be adjudicated on, but at the current rate the number will rise well above 100 in the coming weeks and months.

  • Gaurav Bhatt

    Well, it is easily available online.

  • Tony West

    Still tying

  • Tony West

    At least I wont have to turn volume down, from now on.

  • Tony West

    She,s lying

  • OperaSmorg

    No, it is only available in Russia and the Baltic countries. It isn’t available/approved for use in the rest of Europe and the USA (FDA hasn’t approved the drug).

  • Nomad

    The report says that Meldonium takes “several months” to leave your system? That’s a very long glow time – could be more positives. Vorganov may not be alone.

  • Jdog

    you’re right, looks like it’s widely available over the counter

  • Andy Gibson

    Is it a prescription only drug in every country?

  • Jdog

    Are they all being prescribed this by medical doctors? Can the GMC (or the countries’ respective medical oversight committees) investigate?