Last drug story for this week, I promise. This concerns a story that doesn't get enough attention in North America, which is the state-run doping programme of the German Democratic Republic. Last week, a group of athletes who were given performance-enhancing substances without their knowledge — some of them were only 10 years old at the time — launched a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical manufacturer.
This is one of the very few instances in the world where a systematic and scientific doping programme has been fully exposed. Unfortunately, although a lengthy investigation resulted in 356 convictions, none of those involved have really been punished for giving thousands of young Germans illegal drugs without consent.
And now some of those athletes are suing … for 10,000 Euros each? That's it!? I'm not presuming that the pharmaceutical company knew what was going on, or that any damages will be awarded. But can you imagine how many millions we'd be talking about if this had happened in the U.S.A?