(Reuters) - UK Anti-Doping (UKAD) has told British athletes not to refuse drugs tests if they are given collection kits that have recently been discontinued by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA).
WADA said last week that it would seek alternative sources of sample collection kits after Swiss manufacturer Berlinger Special AG announced it was pulling out of the business.
The world anti-doping body said in January it was looking into a potential integrity issue with Berlinger's sample collection bottles after the accredited laboratory in Cologne discovered they might potentially be susceptible to manual opening "upon freezing".
The bottles are used to collect and store urine and/or blood samples when an athlete undergoes a doping control test.
"UKAD remains confident in the robust integrity of our sample collection process," UKAD director of operations Pat Myhill said in a statement on its website (www.ukad.org.uk).
"In keeping with our previous statements, our advice to athletes is, if there are any concerns regarding the testing bottles available, please take the test and note any concerns on the doping control form."
Myhill said UKAD was still using an older version of sample collection bottles but added that there have been no reported issues with bottle integrity.
"UKAD will minimize the very low risk, highlighted by the recent statement from WADA regarding new versions of sample bottles breaking on freezing, by working closely with the laboratory to determine suitable controls to maintain the highest standards of assurance," he said.
"In addition, UKAD is exploring alternative options for sample collection bottles, and has recently coordinated a meeting with an alternative supplier."
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru)