Following the recommendation of the Anti-Doping and Medication Control Standing Committee, the board of directors of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority announces the following policy change effective immediately regarding the ADMC Program with respect to the Banned Substance metformin. Commencing immediately, the HISA board has requested that HIWU defer active Provisional Suspensions for metformin positives. 

“In line with HISA’s Anti-Doping and Medication Control requirements, metformin is included in the Prohibited Substances List because there is no recognized therapeutic use for the substance in horses involved in Thoroughbred racing. In addition, HIWU has intelligence that some horsemen may be using metformin to try and gain a performance advantage. However, there is limited scientific information available regarding the substance’s use in horses.  The HISA board feels that further expert analysis on the topic is necessary to determine if any refinement of HISA’s rules is appropriate,” Chairman of the HISA Board, Charles Scheeler said.   

Consequently, HISA and HIWU have asked the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium’s Scientific Advisory Committee to conduct a review of the available science relating to metformin. Following RMTC’s board of director’s approval, any conclusions drawn, and guidance produced regarding the SAC’s review will be shared with HISA’s ADMC Committee. Once the RMTC Scientific Advisory Committee completes its work, which we expect will take a few months, the ADMC Committee and the HISA board will determine whether any policy changes regarding metformin should be submitted to the Federal Trade Commission for approval. 

In this interim period, metformin remains on the Prohibited Substances List and, as such, regardless of the source and/or the existence of any mitigating circumstances, any ADMC Program violation resulting from an Adverse Analytical Finding for metformin will result in the automatic disqualification of race results of the relevant Covered Horse. The deferral of Provisional Suspensions is only applicable to the Responsible Person; Covered Horses that test positive for metformin are still subject to a Provisional Suspension.  

HISA is grateful for the feedback from all industry constituents, especially the Horsemen’s Advisory Group, as we continue to refine our regulatory program to make horse racing safer and fairer for all.  

Return to the June 4 issue of Wire to Wire