12/23/2002 12:00AM

Ban on two drugs proposed

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The Association of Racing Commissioners International has added two drugs similar to the blood-doping agent erythropoietin to a list of medications it believes should be prohibited in racing.

The two drugs, which are marketed under the names Oxyglobin and Hemopure, both increase the ability of blood to deliver oxygen to muscles. Oxyglobin is a dog medication, and Hemopure is currently undergoing testing for approval as a treatment for anemia in humans.

The RCI added the drugs to the list as of Dec. 17. The list was developed in the past year to address concerns that horsemen were using erythropoietin, or EPO, and other similar drugs to give their horses an edge in races.

A test to detect EPO has been circulated among racing laboratories for experimentation in recent months, but no test has been fully implemented that would detect the drug or other blood-doping agents.

Many racing commissions have adopted regulations prohibiting the possession and use of drugs on the RCI's prohibited practices list.

It is unclear if racing officials believe that Oxyglobin and Hemopure are being abused. Officials for the RCI and its Drug Testing Standards and Practices Committee, which added the two new drugs, could not be reached for comment Monday.