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Confidentiality, Disclosure and Doping in Sports Medicine
  1. Mike McNamee1,*,
  2. Nicola Phillips2
  1. 1 Swansea University, United Kingdom;
  2. 2 Cardiff University, United Kingdom
  1. Correspondence to: Michael J McNamee, School of Health Science, Swansea University, Dept of Philosophy, History and Law, School of Health Science, 7th Floor, Vivian Bdg, Swansea University, Swansea, SA2 8PP, United Kingdom; m.j.mcnamee{at}


Healthcare professionals working in and outside of sports medicine are bound by a range of codes of professional conduct that inter alia outline their professional obligations. Central to healthcare professionals' obligations is their duty of care of which patient confidentiality is a part. We present a range of Codes that direct the healthcare professional to the protection and promotion of patient welfare including the maintaining of confidentiality, which is at the heart of trustworthy relations. In apparent contravention of this duty, the 2009 version of the World Anti Doping Code appears to oblige all healthcare professionals not to assist athletes if they are known to be engaged in doping behaviours under fear of removal from working with athletes from the respective sport. We show that, under certain conditions, serving the best interests of their athlete patients may oblige healthcare professionals to give advice and guidance in terms of harm-minimisation. In so far as the professional conduct of a healthcare professional is guided both by professional code and WADC, they are obliged to fall foul of one or the other. We call for urgent and pressing inter-professional dialogue with WADA to clarify this situation.

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