Frequently asked questions about TUEs

On this page you find answers to common questions about the TUE process including:

National level athletes

Drug Free Sport determines the criteria for a national level athlete (in accordance with the World Anti-Doping Code). Below you'll find details of those criteria and more information on when you should apply for a TUE.

You qualify as a national level athlete if you meet any of the following criteria.  You are:

  • assigned to Drug Free Sport NZ’s Registered Testing Pool or National Testing Pool
  • selected in a New Zealand Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games team
  • named on the long list for selection for the New Zealand Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games teams
  • competing in the elite or open grade categories at specified events or you are  selected in specified national representative teams within the following sports (click on your sport for details about the specific criteria for that sport): 

International level athletes

The criteria for an international level athlete is determined by a sport’s International Federation.  If you’re competing internationally you should check with your Federation and be clear about your responsibilities around TUEs because you may have to apply for a TUE from your International Federation rather than Drug Free Sport NZ.

Other athletes

Other athletes do not require a TUE in advance.  If you’re one of these athletes, you can apply for a retroactive exemption, which means you only need to apply if you’re tested and you return a positive test.  However, you will need to meet the relevant criteria.

If you’re not sure what level athlete you are contact Drug Free Sport NZ email us or call us on 0800 DRUGFREE (378 437).  Alternatively, you can contact your National Sport Organisation (NSO) to check.  

  • When should a TUE application be made?

If you're a national or international level athlete, you need to apply for a TUE before you start taking any medication. 

National athletes:

If you are competing in an event that qualifies you as a national level athlete, you should have a TUE in place for one week prior to the event start date and it should last for the duration of the event. 

If you're in a national team and you need to take a prohibited medication, then you should apply for a TUE as soon as you are selected.  The TUE should remain in place for the duration of the competition (ie until the final play-offs etc).  If you lose your place in the team due to injury or performance, you still qualify as a national level athlete for this period and you must have a TUE in place as you could still be drug tested during this time. 

International athletes:

International athletes should check with their International Federations for more details on when to apply for TUEs.

Other athletes:

Other athletes only need to apply for a TUE if they return a positive drugs test.  However, they still need to meet the same criteria of a TUE as other athletes.

  • What should be included in a TUE application?

Your medical practitioner will need to provide a variety of information in support of your TUE application.  

This includes:

  •     comprehensive medical evidence to justify the use of the treatment, preferably from a specialist
  •     confirmation that permitted alternative medications have been tried.

If all of the required information is not submitted, then your application will be delayed so it’s important that you include the correct documentation.

Drug Free Sport NZ aims to deal with TUE applications quickly, but don’t leave it until the last minute to apply in case you need to provide further information. If you’re an international or national level athlete, you need to apply for a TUE before you take a banned substance.

  • What if an athlete need emergency treatment?

If you have a serious accident or you require emergency medical treatment, don’t hesitate.  Your health always comes first and you should get whatever medical help you need immediately.

Do advise all medical staff that you’re an athlete who could be drug tested and ask them to check whether all medications are prohibited in sport.

However, if you do require a prohibited substance or method for the sake of your health, make a TUE application immediately after treatment (a retroactive TUE).

  • Where should TUE applications be sent?

New Zealand athletes will either apply to Drug Free Sport NZ, their International Federation or a major event organiser (e.g. the International Olympic Committee) for a TUE.

Who you apply to for a TUE will depend on what level athlete you are and what sport you’re involved in.

Most athletes can apply to Drug Free Sport NZ for a TUE, but it’s best to call us first to check and we’ll let you know whether the TUE should go to the athlete's International Federation or event organiser. Email us here or call us 0800 DRUGFREE (378 437).

Remember, if an athlete competes at you’re an international or national level athlete, you need to apply for a TUE before you take a banned substance.

Applications to Drug Free Sport NZ should got to tue@drugfreesport.org.nz

  • What does the TUE committee consider?

Getting a TUE may protect athletes from receiving a sanction if a prohibited substance is found in their sample.

An exemption is only granted if the athlete will gain no unfair advantage by using the banned substance or method.  It’s also important that the athlete’s wellbeing not put at further risk as a result of using the medication.

The TUE Committee must consider the following:

  •     will the athlete experience significant health problems if they don’t take the medication?
  •     will the substance significantly enhance the athlete's sporting performance?
  •     is there no reasonable and permitted alternative medication the athlete could take for the illness or condition?

If the criteria are met then it’s likely a TUE will be granted.  A TUE will only be valid for the specific medication and for a certain time period. Make sure you understand the restrictions that apply to your TUE application.  

  • How long will it take for my TUE application to be considered?

Drug Free Sport NZ aims to have a fast turnaround on TUE applications.  We try to have them dealt with in at least two working days.  However, if there is information missing or further information required your TUE application may take longer than this.

  • Where can I get a TUE application form?

Download your form here.