On Sept. 19, the Court of Arbitration for Sport approved a settlement between the Fédération Equestre Internationale and U.S. show jumper Paige Johnson after the banned substance pramoxine was reclassified as a controlled substance.
Samples taken from Luke Skywalker 46 on Jan. 21 at a CSI** in Wellington, Fla., tested positive for the FEI banned substance pramoxine, a local anesthetic that is found in some triple antibiotic wound creams.
On July 14, the FEI suspended Johnson for a year, with her provisional suspension beginning April 5. Johnson then appealed the decision to the CAS.
Johnson presented research about pramoxine’s uses in horses to the FEI List Group, which reviews the Equine Prohibited Substances List on an annual basis.
“Anyone can present changes to the list; that’s why riders need to get involved because there are so many things on the list,” said Johnson. “We just presented, ‘Please look at the research.’ There are all these companies that produce this in shampoos, ointments, etcetera with pramoxine as an ingredient, and therefore it’s prescribed for horses, and we believe it should not be banned; it should be controlled. And upon the research, the FEI List Group looked at it and agreed.”
The FEI defines banned substances as “substances that are deemed by the FEI to have no legitimate use in the competition horse and/or have a high potential for abuse. They are not permitted for use in the competition horse at any time.”
Controlled substances are defined as “substances that are deemed by the FEI to have therapeutic value and/or be commonly used in equine medicine. Controlled medication have the potential to affect performance and/or be a welfare risk to the horse.”
In late August, the FEI Bureau began re-examining the classification of pramoxine, so Johnson requested that the CAS case be suspended until a decision was made. Since the FEI will be reclassifying pramoxine from a banned substance to a controlled substance effective Jan. 1, 2018, Johnson and the FEI agreed to the settlement on Sept. 19. CAS costs will be shared equally by both parties.
Johnson’s suspension was reduced to three months (April 5-July 5), so she is now eligible to compete.
“Given the fact that pramoxine has been recently reclassified as a controlled medication, effective as of Jan. 1, 2018, the FEI agreed as a matter of fairness and based on the principle of proportionality, that the period of ineligibility initially imposed by the FEI Tribunal should be reduced,” FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch said in an FEI release. “Three months was deemed appropriate given the circumstances.”