ANTALYA / LONDON
Former Olympic champion race walker Alex Schwazer of Italy sheds tears at a press conference where he admits doping. REUTERS photo
Antalya Chamber of Pharmacists yesterday questioned the claims of Olympic race walker Alex Schwazer, who said he had bought the blood booster he was banned for from the Mediterranean province of Turkey.
Schwazer, who was expelled from the London Games for doping, said in a press conference that he bought the banned blood boosting substance erythropoietin (EPO) from a pharmacist in Antalya.
Antalya Chamber of Pharmacists President Kerem Zabun said the Italian athlete should prove where he bought the drug in Turkey.
“We ask Alex Schwazer to explain which pharmacy he bought this drug from and under what kind of circumstances he bought it,” Zabun told Anatolia news agency.
Schwazer said he flew alone to Turkey in September with 1,500 euros to buy the blood booster at a pharmacy. Zabun admitted that the medicine is “about 60 percent cheaper in Turkey than in Europe,” but said it was not easy to find and is bought after being ordered.
“With the help of a drug tracking system what time [the drug moves] from producer to store, from store to pharmacy can be discovered. Every phase of its [development] has been monitored. The drugs with EPO cannot be bought at anytime at pharmacies, these are usually delivered to the pharmacies alternately,” said Zabun.
However, Zabun said the medicine, which was regularly used for chronic kidney disease, could be purchased with a regular prescription that “could have been obtained from a hotel doctor.”
The 2008 Olympic race walk champion Schwazer was tossed from the games on Aug. 6 after testing positive for a banned substance. He said he felt pressured leading up to the Olympics by the “expectations that I had to dominate even more than before.”