U.S. drug czar 'deeply concerned' with Chinese doping allegations response

The U.S. drug czar sent a pointed letter to world anti-doping officials, saying leaders in governments across the globe "remain deeply concerned" about the response to allegations of Chinese doping before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Rahul Gupta, who holds a position on the World Anti-Doping Agency's executive committee, sent a series of recommendations to the president of WADA in a May 8 letter that was obtained by The Associated Press. It included calling for an emergency meeting of the executive committee before the end of this week.

WADA has set up an "extraordinary" session of its foundation board on Friday. That board is a larger body than the executive committee and has final authority over the agency's policies; it does not include a U.S. member.

The letter from Gupta, the head of the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, came in the wake of allegations that 23 Chinese swimmers were cleared of intentionally taking performance enhancers, saying a banned heart medication ended up in their systems due to contamination.

Responding to criticism about the decision, WADA appointed a Swiss lawyer to undertake an independent investigation into the case. That, too, has been criticized.

Gupta's letter spelled out some of the perceived deficiencies about the appointment, including the complaint that members of the executive committee who represent governments were not fully briefed and did not participate in a formal vote that launched the investigation.

Gupta asked for increased transparency and clarity on various aspects of the case.

That included a call for more information about "what WADA knew, at what time, and why WADA decided not to take additional actions, such as to investigate the contamination claims, or otherwise generate lessons-learned from this case that could inform and strengthen the anti-doping system."

Gupta's office plays a key role in releasing U.S. funds to WADA. The United States is scheduled to contribute a world-leading $3.6 million to WADA's 2024 $50 million budget, which is double the amount of the next biggest contributor.