New legislation proposed in the Senate this week would help to ensure anabolic steroids are not misrepresented as legitimate dietary supplements by broadening the definition and imposing tougher penalties on firms making and selling them, claim supporters.
The Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2012 (SB 3431 ) proposed by senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) would amend the Controlled Substances Act to add more than 25 new substances to current lists of defined anabolic steroids, and revise the process whereby new substances can be added in future.
It would also create 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.
AHPA: Bill would protect consumers
Welcoming the move, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) said the legislation “protect consumers by better ensuring that [anabolic steroids] are not misrepresented as legitimate dietary supplements, when clearly they are not”.
CRN: Bill would allow DEA to target substances whose chemical structures mimic anabolic steroids
Council for Responsible Nutrition chief executive Steve Mister also welcomed the bill, which he said would help the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) respond more quickly “when new designer anabolic steroids are created and marketed as dietary supplements when they are in fact illegal drugs”.
The legislation would also allow the DEA to “target substances whose chemical structures mimic anabolic steroids and whose manufacturers and marketers promote their anabolic or muscle-building effects and give DEA new authority to remove them from the market as controlled substances”, he said.
“When marketers sell new unapproved steroids under the guise of supplements, it is not only dangerous for consumers, but disparages responsible dietary supplement companies."
NPA: DEA will be able to temporarily remove possible steroids from the market in the future until testing is completed
Natural Products Association (NPA) chief executive John Shaw also welcomed the bill, adding: “Among other provisions, it would impose enhanced criminal and civil penalties for possessing or trafficking any anabolic steroid, or product containing an anabolic steroid, unless it bears a label clearly identifying the anabolic steroid.
“In addition, the DEA would have the authority to immediately schedule 27 anabolic steroids as well as temporarily remove possible steroids from the market in the future until testing is completed. These provisions serve to protect the legitimate dietary supplement industry from bad actors introducing steroid products as supplements.”
What is an anabolic steroid?
The proposed definition of anabolic steroids in the bill includes hormonal substances made with the "intent of producing a drug or other substance that either promotes muscle growth; or otherwise causes a pharmacological effect similar to that of testosterone; or ... marketed or otherwise promoted in any manner suggesting that consuming it will promote muscle growth or any other pharmacological effect similar to that of testosterone”.
Herbs and other botanicals, plus concentrates, metabolites, extracts of and constituents isolated directly from herbal ingredients, are excluded from the definition.