Anti-Doping Systems in Sports are Doomed to Fail: A Probability and Cost Analysis

  • Maciej Henneberg A
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Objective: Doping in sports now seems to be more widespread despite testing. The objective is to assess the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the current anti-doping system. Methods: A probability and cost analysis was performed. Using calculations based on official world-level data of positive doping test results, sensitivity and frequency of testing in 93 categories of sport, and estimates of numerical characteristics (frequency, window of detectability, test predictability) Results: A low probability of doping detection was demonstrated; 0.029 for doping once a week by a single random test with average sensitivity (40%) and window of detectability of 48 hours. With 12 tests a year probability of detection of continuous doping is ~33%. To detect 100% of doping in one year 16-50 tests per athlete must be done costing ~$25,000. Conclusion: Testing is not economically viable for effective detection. Changes are thus required to the current system to combat sophisticated doping techniques.




Maciej Henneberg, A. H. (2014). Anti-Doping Systems in Sports are Doomed to Fail: A Probability and Cost Analysis. Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies, 04(05).

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