Why we should allow performance enhancing drugs in sport


Savulescu, Foddy and Clayton author this leader for the British Journal of Sports Medicine. The publication does not say much new to scholars of sport philosophy, though it does make a particular play about the importance of testing for 'health' rather than drugs. Acknowledging the value of the health argument, the authors are interested to see a more permissible culture of drug use in sport. It is important that such arguments are made in this kind of publication by these authors. In the last year or so, bioethical concerns about sport have developed a greater interest in broader bioethical spheres. This article is one contribution that is leading to a steady pace of literature in this subject beyond the sport ethics circles. As an extension of their argument, it is necessary to further question the justification of 'health' as an ethical concern in sport. There is more than one definition of health and the privileged biomedical approach, which continues to undermin anti-doping programmes is not wholly sufficient. Arguably, we have moved beyond using medicine just for therapy and this need not imply any less respect for how it also alleviates human suffering. it is but a further way in which we seek to explore the limits of being human and we have always done this, not even just with technology.

[2007.04.24: By extension, my article with Bengt Kayser and Alex Mauron has just been published by BMC Medical Ethics: 'Current Anti-Doping Policy: A Critical Appraisal (2007)