IT'S time that governments got into the supplement business.
Given that it is appropriate for them to invest in high-quality detection systems to weed out the cheats, the argument is surely equally strong for them to get involved in protecting those who have no desire to rort the system at all.
After all, prevention has always been said to be way better, and usually way cheaper, than a cure.
The governments of the world, along with the major international sporting federations, are the shareholders and funders of the World Anti- Doping Agency.
Many also set up, support and maintain the laboratories that test and undertake research in the fight against the scourge of drugs in sport.
In the light of repeated exposure of athletes in many sports around the globe and the high-profile domestic problems in the AFL and rugby league in relation to questionable or contaminated substances, it would seem a no-brainer that governments get involved in vetting supplements to ensure a clean supply for those who want them for the right reasons.
The fact remains that the manufacturers and suppliers of supplements have no need and certainly no incentive to ensure that what they make and sell is completely free of those substances that offend the anti- doping rules of sports.
The vast majority of their clients are not elite sports people required to comply with any strict code and are certainly not likely to be tested. Many would be happy to have something extra in the mix, and a large percentage of the rest simply have no reason to care as long as the stuff is not harmful or illegal.
While some manufacturers are more than prepared to try to do the right thing, with many working closely with top sports people, there is no requirement or onus on them to get it 100 per cent correct.
This is where the Australian government can take the world lead and step into the breach.
Setting up an agency to source good-quality and popular supplements in large batches, then test them before repackaging for sale and distribution to both athletes and their support agencies, would be a welcome solution for those desperate to do the right thing.
It would provide peace of mind to those who want to observe the rules and put those who choose to sail close to or beyond the edge by using other potions in the invidious position of going it alone and losing the much greater degree of certainty and protection from a centralised system.
Some will say: why bother at all? But the answer is simple.
Even those who currently choose not to use supplements would prefer to have the option to do so, particularly during or after periods of illness, injury or heavy training loads.
Many others find them helpful in maintaining a healthy body when trying to balance training with work, study and family commitments.
For none of the genuine people is there a desire to use supplements to gain an advantage over their opponents: they simply want to have the best possible chance to deliver at their best.
We spend millions on weeding out the cheats. Surely we can spend much less on protecting the good guys.