The drugmaker is trying to bolster its image after two more bicyclists tested positive for using its Mircera anemia medication, which some athletes apparently use to increase their stamina.
Three stage winners in the Tour de France - Stefan Schumacher of Germany and Italy's Riccardo Ricco and Leonardo Piepoli - have been caught cheating with the drug, which is an advanced version of EPO. Schumacher (pictured left) and Piepoli were exposed Monday, the Associated Press reports. (Another cyclist was caught last summer).
Roche, in fact, says it has been collaborating with the World Doping Agency to help catch cheats since 2004. And now the International Olympic Committee plans to retest samples taken from athletes in all sports at the recent Beijing Games to search for traces of the drug.
Mircera is effective for longer periods than EPO, and half the active substance still works in the body 134 hours after a dose, compared with 40 hours for EPO. Of course, this makes it easier to detect.