- These studies got widespread media attention in 2016 when the Norwegian Ski Association was criticized for the distribution and use of asthma medicines among the athletes of cross country [skiing] as a preventive measure, says Annette Birkeland a lawyer at the Norwegian National Research Ethics Committees to Retraction Watch.

The authors of the articles did apply for ethical approval, but were told by their regional research ethics committee (REK) that their projects fell outside the scope of the Health Research Act.

The project connected to the second and recently retracted article was then changed, adding the use of asthma medication. The researchers believed that the project would still be considered a methodological development study, and thus fall outside the scope of the act.

But the Norwegian Board of Health Supervision disagrees. They conclude that the researchers should have requested a new assessment with REK following the changes and that the responsible reseach institution, the Norwegian School of Sports Sciences, has violated the the requirement for pre-approval in the Health Research Act.   

The board also points out that the article wrongfully states that the study "was reviewed by the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics".