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Therapeutic Use Exemptions

About Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUEs)

Wheelchair basketball match.

There is a process that allows you to take a medication containing a banned substance if you need to for medical reasons. It's called a Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE).

You may need to apply for a TUE if you get sick or injured and require medication, or if you have an ongoing medical condition that requires treatment, such as diabetes or asthma.

Getting a TUE may protect you from a sanction if a banned substance is found in your sample. An TUE is only granted if you will gain no unfair advantage by using the banned substance or method. It’s also important that your wellbeing is not put at further risk by using the medication.

In advance vs retroactive

Some athletes must apply for a TUE in advance (i.e. before using any banned medications or methods). Others may only apply retroactively (i.e. after a positive test).

To find out which applies to you:

  • Read the information under 'In-advance or retroactive?'
  • Check the 'When to apply in advance (infographic)'
  • Check the 'In-advance criteria table (by sport)'

Ready to apply for a TUE?

Download TUE application form

In-advance or retroactive?

In advance TUEs

Some athletes must have a TUE before they take a banned substance. This includes:

  • Athletes in the DFSNZ Registered Testing Pool or National Testing Pool;
  • Athletes selected for New Zealand Olympic, Paralympic or Commonwealth Games teams;
  • Athletes who have been registered, qualified, selected, named or contracted to compete in specific teams and/or national events listed in the 'In-advance criteria table (by sport)' - see below.

If you’re competing internationally, check with your Federation and be clear about your responsibilities around TUEs. You may have to apply for a TUE from your International Federation rather than from us. Find out more about this below under ‘International-level athletes’.

Not sure what level athlete you are? Email us at or contact your National Sport Organisation to check.

Retroactive TUEs

A retroactive TUE is one that's granted after an athlete has tested positive. Retroactive TUEs are available to those competing at levels that aren't listed in the 'In-advance criteria table (by sport)'. You'll need to meet the criteria and supply comprehensive medical documents before a TUE can be granted.

You may apply to us for a retroactive TUE if:

  • You needed emergency or urgent treatment for a medical condition;
  • There was insufficient time, opportunity or other exceptional circumstances that prevented you from submitting the TUE application, or having it evaluated, before getting tested;
  • You weren't allowed or required to apply in advance for a TUE as per the anti-doping rules;
  • You're a lower-level athlete who was tested but isn't under the jurisdiction of an International Federation or National Anti-Doping Organization;
  • You tested positive after using a substance out-of-competition that was only prohibited in-competition (for example glucocorticoids).

In rare and exceptional circumstances (and notwithstanding any other provision in the International Standard for Therapeutic Use Exemptions) you may apply for and be granted retroactive approval for a therapeutic use of a prohibited substance or method, if considering the purpose of the Code, it would be manifestly unfair not to grant a retroactive TUE. This unique retroactive TUE will only be granted with the prior approval of WADA (and WADA may in its absolute discretion agree with or reject the Drug Free Sport New Zealand’s decision).

Important note: Using a banned substance or method without a TUE could result in an anti-doping sanction. Keep all your medical notes in case you need to apply for a retroactive TUE.

TUE basics

More TUE information