The FDA and DEA should exercise greater muscle in cracking down on products containing steroids and other contaminants, according to a Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) response to a Senate sub-committee on the topic.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has the authority to be tougher on products containing contaminants such as anabolic steroids that may pose a health threat to sportspeople, children and others, and CRN said it should use it.
“Rogue products that contain anabolic steroids are not dietary supplements, regardless of how the bad actors who manufacture and market these products might position them—they are illegal, unapproved new drugs,” said CRN president and chief executive officer, Steve Mister.
“Responsible supplement companies do not condone these practices, and urge the FDA and DEA to use the ample authority already granted to these agencies to crack down on anabolic steroids that put athletes and young people at risk.”
Use the power
Mister emphasized that the Controlled Substances Act and Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) respectively gave the DEA and FDA the power to regulate anabolic steroid and other undeclared substances.
“FDA can remove these products from the marketplace if they pose an imminent threat to public health or if there is a significant or unreasonable risk of injury or illness associated with use of the products,” Mister said.
New dietary ingredients (NDIs) rules should also be brought more readily into play
“Anabolic steroids and steroid precursors in particular, would be subject to this notification requirement especially if not already illegal under the Controlled Substance Act,” he wrote.
Actions available to the FDA include seizure of products, fines and criminal sanctions. It “just needs the resources and the political will to use them”.
“All industries struggle with a few outliers and the supplement industry is no exception,” he said.
“However, the vast majority of the industry follows the law and makes quality products that play an important role in consumers’ health and wellness. DSHEA appropriately protects consumers and responsible manufacturers and gives the Agency the appropriate authority to handle those who skirt the law.”
The sub-committee meeting involved the likes of Travis Tygart, the head of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) who blamed recent steroid abuse scandals in American professional sports on the dietary supplements industry.
Dan Fabricant, PhD, acting executive director of the Natural Products Association, spoke at the meeting where he urged a similar line, noting, “These guys are criminals and the only thing they respond to is enforcement.”