Prohibited List

The list of prohibited substances and methods (known as the “Prohibited List”) is usually published on an annual basis by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The updated list enters into force on January 1 of the new year. Every year, Antidoping Switzerland then publishes the Prohibited List in German and French.

It is the responsibility of each and every athlete to check regularly that the substances and methods they use are not prohibited in sport. For everyday use, we recommend the Medical Inquiry Servie Global DRO.

Medical Inquiry Servie Global DRO

New from 2020: Changes to the Prohibited List

The 2020 Prohibited List (German / French) enters into force on 1 January 2020 and replaces all previous lists.

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has mainly made formal changes to the 2020 Prohibited List and added examples of prohibited substances or their synonyms. All these newly listed substances were already prohibited in the sense of «similar chemical structure» or «similar biological effect». A comprehensive list of all changes is provided by the WADA.

In practice, this means that all changes have no impact on the prohibited status of medications available in Switzerland.

One of the sections, which has been formally adapted for the Prohibited List 2020, is the class of the cannabinoids, substances prohibited in-competition. The change, however, has no effect on their prohibited status, i.e. all natural and synthetic cannabinoids remain prohibited. The only exception is the pure substance cannabidiol (CBD).

However, this does not mean that athletes can consume CBD products without hesitation, as CBD products also contain a certain amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is prohibited in competition. Antidoping Switzerland therefore warns against the use of CBD products: Warning of CBD products

Criteria for Prohibited Substances and Methods

The substances and methods that are included in the Prohibited List are decided by the WADA’s List Expert Group, which is made up of international specialists. As part of this process, substances and methods are assessed according to three criteria: Whether they have the potential to improve performance, whether they have the potential to damage health, and whether or not they run counter to the spirit of sport.

Prohibited Substances and Methods

The Prohibited List organizes prohibited substances into different classes:

Substances and Methods Prohibited at All Times (In and Out of Competition)

  • S0 Non-approved substances
  • S1 Anabolic agents
  • S2 Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances, and mimetics
  • S3 Beta-2 agonists
  • S4 Hormone and metabolic modulators
  • S5 Diuretics and other masking agents
  • M1 Manipulation of blood and blood components
  • M2 Chemical and physical manipulation
  • M3 Gene and cell doping

Substances and Methods Prohibited in-Competition

  • S6 Stimulants
  • S7 Narcotics
  • S8 Cannabinoids
  • S9 Glucocorticoids

Substances Prohibited in Particular Sports

  • P1 Beta-blockers

More detailed information and knowledge (about substances and methods) can be gained from the Mobile Lesson «Substances and Methods» provided by Antidoping Switzerland.

Specified and Non-Specified substances

All prohibited substances are divided into specific and non-specific substances. In the event of violations of the anti-doping provisions, the sentence will generally be higher if non-specific substances have been used. Prohibited substances in the following classes are deemed to be non-specific:

  • S1 Anabolic agents
  • S2 Peptide hormones, growth factors, related substances, and mimetics
  • S4 Agents preventing activin receptor IIB activation (i. e. myostatin inhibitor)
  • S4.5 Metabolic modulators
  • S6.a Non-specific stimulants

All prohibited methods are also deemed to be non-specific.

Provisions Issued by International Sporting Federations

In addition to the anti-doping provisions that apply world-wide, athletes must abide by the rules issued by their international sporting federations. Certain substances and methods are prohibited in certain sports, even though they do not appear on the Prohibited List.

One example here is the International Cycling Union, which forbids the painkiller Tramadol to be used in-competition. As a substance, Tramadol does not appear in the Prohibited List, however.