5th August 2019
USADA announced today that William Licon, of Austin, Texas, an athlete in the sport of swimming, has accepted a public warning for his anti-doping rule violation.
Licon, 24, declared the use of an inhaler called Breo Ellipta, which contains the prohibited substance vilanterol trifenatate, during an out-of-competition test on June 3, 2019. The results of that out-of-competition test were negative for any prohibited substances, including vilanterol trifenatate. Vilanterol trifenatate is a Beta-2 Agonist, prohibited under the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing and the rules of the Fédération Internationale de Natation (FINA), both of which have adopted the World Anti-Doping Code (“Code”) and the World Anti-Doping Agency (“WADA”) Prohibited List. Beta-2 agonists are listed as Specified Substances, and therefore can result in a reduced sanction.
After a thorough review of the case, including Licon’s medical records, USADA determined that a reduced sanction was appropriate because Licon used the inhaler at the direction of a physician to treat asthma, forthrightly declared the inhaler on his doping control form, and tested negative for any prohibited substances. The Code requires athletes to obtain a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) before using a prohibited substance, and USADA has issued specific guidance on asthma inhalers. Although Licon stopped taking the medication as soon as he learned it was prohibited, he should have obtained a TUE or investigated other permitted alternatives with his doctor prior to use, as USADA has stated in its guidance to athletes.
In an effort to aid athletes, as well as all support team members such as parents and coaches, in understanding the rules applicable to them, USADA provides comprehensive instruction on its website on the testing process and prohibited substances, how to obtain permission to use a necessary medication, and the risks and dangers of taking supplements as well as performance-enhancing and recreational drugs. In addition, USADA manages a drug reference hotline, Global Drug Reference Online (www.GlobalDRO.com), conducts educational sessions with National Governing Bodies and their athletes, and proactively distributes a multitude of educational materials, such as the Prohibited List, easy-reference wallet cards, periodic newsletters, and protocol and policy reference documentation. USADA is responsible for the testing and results management process for athletes in the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Movement, and is equally dedicated to preserving the integrity of sport through research initiatives and educational programs.