Project Details A database of chemical structures and identifiers used in the control of WADA Prohibited Substances

Project No.:
Start Date:
01 November 2020
End Date:


IUPAC, as the chemical nomenclature organization, and the World Antidoping Agency (WADA), as the international independent agency regulating doping in sport, would benefit from closer collaboration. WADA has the overarching responsibility for bringing consistency to anti-doping policies and regulations within sport organizations and governments across the world but currently very little research funding is available. It monitors a wide range of drugs and metabolites, which bear potential risk of misuse in sports. The aim of this project is to provide the anti-doping community with a database of relevant substances with the corresponding chemical structures and identifiers (InChI, InChIKey) – guided by IUPAC experts – for the identification and reporting of doping substances across and beyond WADA-accredited laboratories. A technical report will be published with these outcomes.


WADA’s role is to help regulate doping internationally working with international sports federations and governments.
The list of regulated substances is published annually (, with substances listed in sub-categories (e.g. stimulants and anabolic agents) with their “common” names, for instance fenproporex, anastrozol. WADA laboratories are expected to report the names of such detected substances and/or their metabolites to their local regulatory bodies and partner laboratories alike. Although this is straightforward for substances specifically named on the Prohibited List, there is often inconsistency or lack of clarity for non-named substances that are still prohibited as “other substances with a similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s)” under the rules. This may generate confusion and mistakes with respect to the nomenclature used during reporting procedures. There is a clear need in providing unambiguous compound identification and guidance to the anti-doping community.

This project will provide the antidoping community with a common language – guided by IUPAC experts – for the identification and reporting of doping substances across and beyond WADA-accredited laboratories. A IUPAC Technical Report will be published with these outcomes. This will be achieved via a compilation of the WADA Prohibited List of substances in the form of a set/database of chemical structures with WADA (common) names, their InChI and InChI Keys and other relevant identifiers. In addition to the regulated substances itself, it is important to include the key metabolites used in the specific identification procedures.

The intended database will be made available as supplementary material for the Technical Report for further dissemination. The database will be maintained by the authors for three years after the completion of the project or earlier if taken up by WADA, GlobalDRO (the online drugs information system for sport) or other competent body such as the Partnership for Clean Competition. The anti-doping community will therefore be equipped with a worldwide homogenous language code to report and disseminate doping cases with partner laboratories and regulatory bodies alike. Such a project will enhance the importance of already recognised IUPAC tools in anti-doping, providing a worldwide universal language to the intended stakeholders.


Prior to this project, in January 2020, members of this task group published a short feature in Chemistry International titled “Anti-doping: Two Scientists’ Points of View” ;

Page last update 5 Nov 2020