Moscow: Twenty seven Russian athletes have so far tested positive for meldonium, a drug banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) this year, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko said on Friday.

"Currently 27 people were found using meldonium (in Russia) and some 127 people in the world, but this figure may change," Mutko was quoted as saying by the RIA Novosti news agency.

"If we take the quantitative indicator, we have an equal number of violations of anti-doping rules to other countries of around 200 per year," Mutko added.

The minister did not name those violators, reports Xinhua.

Meldonium, also known as mildronate, is used to treat diabetes and low magnesium. WADA considers the drug to be a metabolic modulator that increases athletes' endurance and shortens post-exercise rehabilitation time, as well as enhances central nervous system activation.

The decision to add it to WADA's list of banned substances was approved in September 2015, and it came into force from this year.