Irish professional rugby player James Cronin has admitted to ‘entirely unintentional’ anti-doping offences after as part of an investigation by the European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR). Cronin took a number of doses of Prednesol 5mg (prednisolone) after having received it due to a dispensing error at his local pharmacy.
According to the investigation Cronin had been prescribed amoxicillin. This prescription had been emailed to the pharmacy where it was to be dispensed. The team doctor had indicated to Cronin that he had prescribed antibiotics but did not inform him of which antibiotic that he had prescribed. He did say that he had prescribed ‘antibiotics only’.
When Cronin went to collect the medicine at the pharmacy he was actually dispensed two medications, Germentin and Prednesol 5mg. Unfortunately, the Prednesol 5mg had actually been intended for another patient of the pharmacy but Cronin received it by mistake. The name ‘James Cronin’ name was on the medication labels.
Cronin followed the instructions on the medication labels and took 25mg of the Prednesol the day before the doping test and a further 20mg of Prednesol on the morning of the doping test.
He tested positive later that day for the banned substance prednisolone. After mitigation was considered Cronin avoided the standard two-year ban for intentional use of this type of banned substance and instead received a one month ban.
Whilst the investigation recognised that the error was not entirely his fault they did say that it was appropriate that he carries some responsibility for what had happened.
In a statement issued by the EPCR they said the following:
“Prior to the match against Racing 92, Cronin had been unwell and had been prescribed antibiotics, however, the pharmacy dispensed medication to him which was intended for another customer.
“On 23 November 2019, Cronin tested positive for prednisolone and prednisone which are banned substances under Section 9 of the 2019 WADA Prohibited List. Cronin had no Therapeutic Use Exemption permitting the use of prednisolone and prednisone.
“The Judicial Officer accepted evidence that the banned substances in the player’s sample were due to a dispensing error by the pharmacy and that the anti-doping violation was entirely unintentional.
“An independent Judicial Officer has decided that Cronin, who plays his club rugby for Munster in the Republic of Ireland, will be ineligible for a period of one month due to an unintentional anti-doping violation.
“Cronin co-operated fully with a subsequent investigation of the case by EPCR, and the matter was referred for decision to an independent Judicial Officer, Antony Davies (England).
“Although the Judicial Officer found that there was no significant fault on behalf of the player and that there were clear and compelling mitigating factors, he determined that the player had to bear some responsibility for what was in his sample.
Cronin has the opportunity to appeal the decision.