If an athlete has an illness, the treatment of which requires them to take a medicine or use a method which falls under the Prohibited List, they may apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE). FINCIS’ Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee (TUEC) may, upon written application by an athlete, grant a TUE for a specified time for the use of a prohibited substance or prohibited method in accordance with WADA’s International Standard for TUEs. There are different procedures for national-level and international-level athletes.
National-level athletes can apply for a TUE from FINCIS. This page describes the stages of the application process when applying for a TUE from the FINCIS Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee. Instructions applicable to international-level athletes and athletes who participate in international competitions are described under International TUE processes.
Criteria for granting a TUE
A TUE may be granted for any form of therapy mentioned in WADA’s Prohibited List if all of the following criteria are met:
- The athlete has a diagnosed illness that must be treated with the prohibited substance or method.
- The medicinal use of the substance does not improve the athlete’s performance significantly compared to the athlete’s normal health.
- There is no other medically justified treatment alternative for the use of the prohibited substance or prohibited method.
- The necessity for the use of the prohibited substance or prohibited method is not due to prior use (without a TUE) of a substance or method that was prohibited at the time of such use.
More information on the criteria is available in WADA’s International Standard for TUEs (Article 4.1), and the WADA documents titled “Medical Information to Support the Decisions of TUECs” assist in applying these criteria to specific medical conditions.
An application for a TUE will not be considered for retroactive approval except in cases where:
- The athlete needed emergency treatment or urgent treatment for their illness.
- The athlete has not had enough time or an opportunity to send (or the TUEC to process) the TUE application before the doping test, or was prevented from doing so by other exceptional circumstances.
- The athlete was not required to apply for a Therapeutic Use Exemption in advance on the basis of the Finland’s Anti-Doping Code (the athlete is not an International-level athlete, as specified by the relevant international sports federation, and they are not covered by FINCIS’ discipline-specific level determination).
- The athlete was tested, but the athlete is a lower-level athlete and is not under the jurisdiction of an International Sport Federation or a National Anti-Doping Organization.
- The athlete tested positive when, for medical reasons, the athlete had used a substance out-of-competition the use of which was prohibited only during the competition (e.g. glucocorticoids).
In exceptional circumstances and notwithstanding other provisions of the International Standard for TUEs, an athlete may be granted a retroactive TUE for the medical use of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method where the refusal of the retroactive exemption would be manifestly unfair having regard to the purpose of the Code.
This exceptional retroactive TUE can only be granted if it has been approved in advance by WADA (and WADA has full discretion to approve or reject FINCIS’s decision).
Submitting TUE applications
Except in situations requiring urgent medical treatment, such as emergency situations, athletes covered by FINCIS’ discipline-specific level determination should not, at all times, start medication or treatment prohibited in sports (in- and out-of-competition, such as during the training period and between competitions) or use a medication during the competition if the use of the medication is prohibited, before a TUE has been granted for it. In situations requiring urgent medical treatment, such as emergency situations, the TUE is applied for retroactively as soon as possible after starting the treatment.
Applications for a TUE are made using FINCIS’ TUE Application Form. The application is to be completed in upper case letters or on a computer. We recommend filling in the application in English because this facilitates, for instance, applying for a recognition for the TUE from an international sports federation. The physician completes the sections relating to medical information and medication as well as the declaration section (sections 4, 5 and 6). Both the physician and athlete (and, if necessary, the athlete’s guardian) sign the application.
The application form must be accompanied by comprehensive patient records (including, where possible, documentation from the original diagnosing physician) and the results of all examinations, laboratory investigations and imaging studies relevant to the application. The patient records must include a valid medical justification as to why the prohibited substance or method is needed, and why it cannot be replaced by any alternatives permitted in sports. FINCIS’ TUEC may, if necessary, request the athlete to provide additional information or undergo further examinations for assessing the necessity of the treatment.
WADA’s checklists for TUE application help the athlete and the physician to deliver the documentation that is needed for handling the TUE request. The checklists are available also in Finnish with regard to the following illnesses:
The completed TUE application and the accompanying documents can be sent to the FINCIS office either by post: Valimotie 10, 00380 Helsinki or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, if the sender feels that e-mail is a sufficiently secure way of sending health information. The athlete should keep a copy of the application form and the accompanying documents for their own records. Please note! FINCIS’ TUEC will not review incomplete applications or applications without the required attachments but will return these to the athlete for completion.
TUE application processing period
The Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee must process the applications as soon as possible after receiving the completed application with attachments, but within 21 days at the latest.
Validity and renewal of TUE
If the athlete is granted a TUE, they will receive a written TUE certificate.
All TUEs are granted for a specified time, and each TUE is assigned a period of validity at the discretion of the TUEC. The permission to use the prohibited substance or method enters into force on the date defined by the FINCIS TUEC, in general immediately after the favourable decision by the TUEC. The period of validity is indicated on the TUE certificate that is sent to the athlete.
The TUE expires automatically when the period of validity comes to an end. In certain cases the TUEC may revoke its decision prior to expiry if the athlete does not promptly comply with any requirements or conditions imposed by the TUEC granting the TUE. WADA may also review any TUE decisions at any time and reverse them if they do not meet the criteria specified in the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions.
If the athlete needs to continue to use the prohibited substance or prohibited method after the expiry date, he or she must submit an application for a new TUE well in advance of that expiry date, so that there is sufficient time for a decision to be made on the application before the expiry date. The athlete is responsible for the renewal of the TUE.
Appealing a TUE decision made by FINCIS
FINCIS will always send the athlete a written notification of a denial to grant a TUE, with reasons. The athlete may appeal the decision made by FINCIS’ Therapeutic Use Exemption Committee to the Finnish Sports Arbitration Board. (TUE decisions made by FINCIS on behalf/at the request of an international federation can be appealed by submitting the decision for review by WADA and/or appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).)
All the information contained in the TUE application, including the medical information that support the application and other information related to the assessment of your TUE request, are handled in a strictly confidential manner. Your information is handled as specified in FINCIS’ TUE application form. Each member of the TUEC is bound by professional or contractual confidentiality, as are any other authorised recipients of your TUE application and the related information (as described in section 7. Athlete’s insurance of the TUE application form).
Read the criteria for the athlete’s declaration carefully. In particular, note that if you want to revoke the right of FINCIS’s TUEC to receive information of the TUE application, as described in the athlete’s signature section, your TUE application will be considered cancelled, and the TUE will not be granted.
FINCIS and the other authorised recipients will store the information of your TUE application only for as long as necessary and only for the purposes indicated in the athlete’s declaration, in accordance with the International Standard for the Protection of Privacy and Personal Information.