"To me, it's absolutely an amazing story," Anti-Doping Research chief executive officer Don Catlin told The Washington Post. "To just go on Amazon.com and order anabolic steroids."
His firm bought about 10 products which testing confirmed contained illegal steroids that are known to have dangerous side effects such as liver toxicity.
Catlin said he had notified the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration as well as Amazon.com about the matter. Anti-Doping Research indicated there were many similar products that continued to be sold on Amazon.com.
Enforce the law
Dan Fabricant, PhD, the vice president of scientific and global government affairs at the Natural Products Association (NPA), said the situation revealed the need for the dietary supplements industry to remain vigilant and reach out more intensively to retailers on the internet, even behemoths like Amazon.com.
“The internet has always been a sore spot for unauthorized claims and products. But enforcement is the story here and despite incidents like this one there is more evidence of that,” he told NutraIngredients-USA.com noting a recent steroid-related FDA action in Idaho.
That action saw Tribravus Enterprises plead guilty to manufacturing and distributing more than 60 steroid-contaminated dietary supplement products which came to light after FDA investigators visited its site in Boise in early 2009. Tribravus will pay a $125,000 fine.
Catlin said the products he bought were not subject to any purchase conditions regarding age. The products were shipped from various sellers operating through Amazon.com with only one actually emanating from an Amazon warehouse.
All steroids are banned for use in dietary supplements but Anti-Doping Research found three -Madol, Tren and Methasterone in Competitive Edge Labs products called P-Plex, X-Tren and M-Drol.
The Post noted Competitive Edge Labs said in a web and email post that it discontinued sales of the products more than a year ago, with a spokesperson saying it had never sold products via Amazon.com.
But Catlin told the newspaper the products bore fresh expiration dates indicating they were recently made.
Madol was the second most infamous steroid found in the 2003 BALCO doping bust after tetrahydrogestrinone (THG). It goes by other names such as DMT, desoxymethyltestosterone, 17a-methyl-5a-androst-2-ene-17b-ol, 17a-methyl-etioallocholan-2-ene-17b-ol and other variations.
The FDA in December last year announced an industry-sponsored crackdown on tainted products, including those contaminated with steroids which were made available only by prescription in the US in the Anabolic Steroid Act of 1990.
“We stand ready to help Amazon or other retailers in maintaining a safe marketplace for dietary supplements in the future,” Catlin said on his blog.