Bath lost England and British & Irish Lions prop Matt Stevens to a two-year ban for testing positive for cocaine in a Heineken Cup match this year, while former Australian lock Justin Harrison was given an eight month ban for taking cocaine by an RFU disciplinary hearing at the end of last season.
The RFU's chief disciplinary officer, His Honour Judge Jeff Blackett, issued a statement in the wake of his panel's decision on the Bath three: "Leaving Bath and ignoring telephone calls and text messages from the club is not the behaviour of people with nothing to hide and we have drawn adverse inferences against the players from this conduct.
"If the players had nothing to fear from taking drugs tests, then they would have taken them. The reality of the case is that at the time when asked to take a drugs test, the players believed there was a risk of positive results.
"We felt that a particularly telling piece of evidence was that Lipman told (Ed) Jackson, an academy player who had called his captain for advice, to turn off his telephone and get out of Bath."
The solicitor acting on behalf of the three players, Richard Mallett, said they were all "absolutely devastated" by the result.
"We would like to emphasise that the charges against the players that they had actually taken cocaine were dismissed at the beginning of the proceedings. They are, of course, considering their position," he added.