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More money – better anti-doping?

Ever since the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established, underfunding of the global fight against doping has been a perennial issue. So when WADA’s “independent” committee’s report about the lack of effectiveness of anti-doping testing was published, it was no surprise to read the committee’s complaint that the national anti-doping organisations’ (NADO) operations were held back by “Unwillingness of stakeholders to provide sufficient funding of NADOs”. In this paper, we explore how the funding of the world anti-doping campaign and the testing efficacy has developed. Our aim was to examine if the data made available by the anti-doping institutions support the idea that: 1) increased funding of anti-doping leads to better anti-doping defined as improved detection rates, and 2) if that was not the case how the anti-doping movements request for more funding can be otherwise explained and defended. We conclude that the available data do not indicate that increased funding leads to better anti-doping if detection rate is used as yardstick. But this does not mean that increased funding is money wasted. More money has generally led to more tests, and despite the meagre outcome in the form of more adverse analytical findings the procedure is still significant. It keeps laboratories busy and thus contributes to job creation. The same is true for the NADOs. It does not seem to make any practical difference what they do, but we find that the number of employees in this field is growing. So anti-doping contributes positively to the gross domestic product in countries around the world.