Sens. Hatch, Whitehouse push bill to help DEA target SARMs

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

Sens. Hatch, Whitehouse push bill to help DEA target SARMs
A bill to give DEA more authority to get SARMs off the market has been introduced by longtime dietary supplement industry supporter Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-UT.

The bill called the SARMs Control Act of 2018, was introduced in the US Senate last night with Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI as a cosponsor.  The bill will give DEA the authority to remove illegal products containing SARMs from the market as controlled substances.

New take on an old story

SARMs, or selective androgen receptor modulators, are a class of compounds that behave in a similar fashion to full-on anabolic steroids.  But because they do not technically fall within that definition, they have been outside the enforcement scheme set up under DASCA, or the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act, which was signed into law in 2014.  DASCA was designed to give DEA a quicker way to identify and remove offending products from the market.  The Hatch-Whitehouse bill would do something similar for this newer class of compounds.

 “SARMs are synthetic drugs that have negative effects similar to those of anabolic steroids,”​ Sen. Hatch said in a statement release by his office.“Even though SARMS are not approved by the FDA for human use and pose the same safety risks as anabolic steroids, they have proliferated under a regime in which they are not subject to the same controls.  The SARMs Control Act closes this loophole to ensure that the DEA has the authority it needs to prevent abuse and diversion of these dangerous substances.”

“American consumers deserve to know if they’re buying seriously dangerous drugs slipped into everyday dietary supplements,”​ said Sen. Whitehouse in the statement.  “This bipartisan legislation will build on successful anti-designer steroids legislation we’ve already passed to help protect American consumers.”

Bill particulars

The full text of the bill has not yet been posted on the Senate website. But according to Sen. Hatch’s office, The SARMs Control Act of 2018 builds on the success of the Designer Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 2014 (Pub. L. No. 113-260) by extending the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to regulate anabolic steroids to include SARMs. Specifically, the SARMs Control Act of 2018 would:

  • Amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to add SARMs to the list of Schedule III controlled substances, ensuring that SARMs are regulated in the same manner as anabolic steroids;
  • Add a definition of the term “SARM,” including a list of specified substances and a process for the Attorney General to add substances to the definition of SARMs;
  • Prohibit importing, exporting, manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing with intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense any SARM, or any product containing a SARM, unless it is properly labeled;
  • Add certain offenses related to SARMs to the definition of “felony drug offense” and the civil penalty provisions of the CSA; and
  • Require that the FDA provide to the DEA information related to dietary supplements that the FDA determines may contain a SARM, as it already does for supplements that may contain anabolic steroids.

Industry stakeholders support bill

The bill has already garnered wide support among industry stakeholders. Michael McGuffin, President, Herbal Products Association; Scott Melville, President & CEO, Consumer Healthcare Products Association; Steve Mister, President & CEO, Council for Responsible Nutrition; Loren Israelsen, President, United Natural Products Alliance; Travis Tygart, President & CEO, US Anti-Doping Agency signed the following joint statement:

“Each of our organizations has consistently supported efforts to enact and enforce laws to protect consumers, eliminate bad actors marketing illegal substances masquerading as legal products, and prosecute criminals who manufacture and sell them. Your bill will help move toward this goal. The SARMs Control Act is a bold step, adding teeth to prevention and enforcement efforts in the battle against illegal substances being marketed as legitimate products. The dietary supplement industry and USADA stands ready to work with you and all of Congress to deliver a strong bill to the President.”

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