Legislation on doping
Import and dissemination of doping agents is regulated by Chapter 44 of the Finnish Criminal Code. The use of doping agents is also subject to the Medicines Act and the regulations of the Criminal Code on smuggling, unlawful dealing in imported goods and narcotic agents.
Doping offences were included in the Criminal Code on 1 September 2002. At that time, the Criminal Code prohibited the illegal manufacturing, import and distribution of doping agents and their possession with the purpose of dissemination. The use of doping agents is not illegal. Doping agents according to the Criminal code are:
- synthetic anabolic steroids and their derivatives
- testosterone and its derivatives
- growth hormones and
- chemical substances that increase the production of testosterone, its derivatives or growth hormone in the human body.
This list is considerably narrower than the list of prohibited medicinal substances in sport. This is due to the provisions of the Criminal Code on doping offences intending to protect against health risks related to the misuse of doping agents. Therefore, the Criminal Code only lists agents associated with a known medical risk. In particular, the Criminal Code aims to protect minors.
The Criminal Code emphasises the significance of the illegal import and dissemination of doping as offences. Particular penal responsibility is on persons who sell or convey doping agents to athletes. If another athlete or coach obtains and gives an athlete doping agents, he or she is guilty of a doping offence. A physician can also be charged with a doping offence if he or she prescribes or otherwise gives an athlete doping agents for non-therapeutic purposes.
For a doping offence, the penalty is a fine or imprisonment for at most two years. For an aggravated doping offence, the penalty is imprisonment for at least four months and at most four years. In an aggravated doping offence:
- the offence involves a considerably large amount of doping agents
- considerable financial benefit is sought
- the offender acts as a member of a criminal organisation that has been specifically organised for the extensive commission of such an offence, or
- the doping agent is disseminated to a minor.
If the doping offence is deemed petty, the offender shall be sentenced for a petty doping offence to a fine.