Q&A: HISA's Anti-Doping And Medication Control Program

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As the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act's (HISA) drug and medication control program has rolled out over the past few months, various questions have been raised over the mechanics of the new law.

As such, the TDN has decided to maintain a Q&A on this new program comprising questions raised by readers, and answers fielded by representatives from either HISA or the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit (HIWU), the enforcement arm of HISA's Anti-Doping and Medication Control (ADMC) program.

The first set of responses can be read here.

The second set of responses can be read here, while the third set can be read here.

Note: This is not a regular Q&A conducted in the form of an interview. Rather, these questions have been submitted in writing, and the written responses arrive typically days after. TDN does not have the ability, therefore, to ask follow-up questions immediately. If you have any questions about the answers received, please submit them in writing to: [email protected].

Can you explain in detail the process behind the designation of substances as “Prohibited” and “Banned”? Who exactly made these designations? What science was used to back these designations up?

In its development of the ADMC rules, including the Controlled and Banned Substances lists, the HISA ADMC Committee consulted multiple established sources at length, including the FDA Orange and Green Books, FDA Orphan Drug Designations and Approvals Database, veterinary pharmacology textbooks, hospital formularies, PubMed literature searches, international racing regulators and equine sporting discipline regulators. The ADMC Committee also directly consulted Board Certified veterinary specialists–including surgeons, internists and ophthalmologists–as well as racetrack veterinarians.

When urine and blood “B” samples are sent to a laboratory for confirmation testing, are they to be sent to that laboratory together? And what happens if the samples are separated during this confirmation process on the way to the laboratory? Could that potentially invalidate the sample findings?

For B Sample analysis, only the matrix (blood or urine) in which the Prohibited Substance was reported is sent to the laboratory. Confirmatory analysis conducted by the B Sample laboratory is targeted toward the specific substance that was reported in a specific matrix from the first (A Sample) analysis. For example, if a Prohibited Substance is reported and confirmed in urine in the A Sample analysis, B Sample analysis will only be performed on urine.

Can you explain how the “Authority” is created? By what electoral and nomination process? How long do the terms last, for example? And can you do the same for the racetrack safety and ADMC standing committees?

Members of the HISA Board are appointed by the HISA Nominating Committee, whose membership was selected by Congress. Members of HISA's Board, ADMC Committee and Racetrack Safety Committee all serve four-year terms and are all unpaid. Board members come from both inside and outside the Thoroughbred industry and are required to comply with extensive conflict-of-interest restrictions. Members of the HISA ADMC Committee and Racetrack Safety Committee are nominated by the Nominating Committee and then officially appointed by a vote of the HISA Board.

This HISA FAQ also addresses the same point.

The “Authority” is listed as a private entity. Does that mean the Authority is not beholden to the public disclosure requirements under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)? If not, to whom should individuals file FOIA requests when seeking information about HISA's operations?

Although HISA is a private, non-profit corporation and therefore not subject to FOIA, HISA is committed to transparency and its Board of Directors is in the process of establishing a formal open records policy. Financial information regarding HISA, including its budget, assessments and tax information, is available on the page of hisaus.org. Public rulings issued by HISA can be found in the HISA rulings portal, which is also accessible at hisaus.org. Additionally, HIWU is required to disclose alleged Anti-Doping and Medication Control Rule violations, which they do on the Public Disclosures page of the HIWU website.

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