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Industry group welcomes House committee approval of DASCA, even with last minute ‘technical changes’

By Stephen DANIELLS , 16-Jul-2014
Last updated on 16-Jul-2014 at 17:17 GMT2014-07-16T17:17:25Z

Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act moves closer to becoming law

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has given final approval to H.R. 4771, the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA) after making number of technical changes last night to win DEA and FDA agreement.

DASCA would ensure anabolic steroids are not misrepresented as legitimate dietary supplements by broadening the definition and imposing tougher penalties on firms making and selling them.

The Act seeks to amend the Controlled Substances Act to add more than 25 new substances to current lists of defined anabolic steroids, and revises the process whereby new substances can be added in future.

It also creates tougher penalties (up to $2.5m and up to 10 years in prison) for the manufacture, sale and/or distribution of substances that meet the definition.

‘Herbal exception’ remains intact

Commenting on the last minute ‘technical changes’ Patricia Knight and Peter Reinecke, senior Political Advisors for the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), said that industry lawyers are reviewing that language, “but it appears it is not objectionable”.

“The two potential items of concern to us are acceptable in the committee-approved bill,” added Knight and Reinecke. “These are that DHEA would not be scheduled; and the so-called ‘herbal exception’ (underscoring that herbs and botanicals on their face cannot be brought under the ambit of DASCA) remains intact.”

Since the bill was supported by members of both parties, including sometime industry critics Henry Waxman and John Dingell, Knight and Reinecke predicted it would be unlikely to face any major amendment in the House of Representatives.

No action has been scheduled on the Senate counterpart—introduced by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse and Orrin Hatch, they added.

‘End the loophole’

Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA) explained that the bill would “end a loophole that allows designer anabolic steroids to easily be found online, in gyms, and even in retail stores.

“Designer steroids are produced by reverse engineering existing illegal steroids and then slightly modifying their chemical composition, so the resulting product is not on the DEA’s list of controlled substances.

“H.R. 4771 will help protect consumers from these harmful products by giving the DEA the tools and authority to properly classify designer steroids as controlled substances and increase criminal penalties for importing, manufacturing, or distributing them under false labels.”