Wasps’ Ashley Johnson has received a suspension for testing positive for Hydrochlorothiazide.
Following the decision of an independent national anti-doping panel, Johnson has been suspended from all sporting activity for six months.
Johnson tested positive for the presence of a specified substance, hydrochlorothiazide (S5 Diuretics and Masking Agents), following an out-of-competition test at the Premiership club.
The South African’s urine sample returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) after being tested on 7 February 2018.
Johnson claimed that hydrochlorothiazide got in his system by consuming his wife’s dietary supplement. The supplement was tested by both the player and the RFU for hydrochlorothiazide and it was found positive even though hydrochlorothiazide is not listed in the product’s ingredients.
However, the suspension is applied from the date of sample collection back in February so he is eligible to play from August onwards. Johnson was suspended immediately back in April when the positive sample was first known.
The independent panel accepted that the prohibited substance was not ingested intentionally. The period of ineligibility has been applied from 7 February 2018 – the date of the sample collection – until 7 August 2018. The outcome of the hearing is subject to a right of appeal until 13 August 2018.
Stephen Watkins, RFU Anti-Doping and Illicit Drugs Programme Manager, said: “Ashley Johnson was careless in his failure to acknowledge his responsibilities as a rugby player and ensure he was dutiful in checking what he consumed.
“The risk of contamination in supplements is significant to all players and therefore we advise that there is no guarantee that a supplement is free from prohibited substances.”
Ashley Johnson, Wasps said: “I was horrified when I got the test results and once we tracked back and worked out I had inadvertently taken the wrong tablet.
“I completely accept that I am responsible for everything in my body. Drug use is not something I would ever condone, and from now on I will be extra vigilant at all times.
“I would like to thank my family and friends, everyone at Wasps, the RPA and our fans for their support through this difficult period and apologise unreservedly for what has happened.
“I am now working hard in pre-season and am looking forward to putting this behind me and getting back to being part of the Wasps squad.”