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Hatch Introduces Designer Steroids ActHatch Introduces Designer Steroids Act

July 25, 2012

3 Min Read
Hatch Introduces Designer Steroids Act

WASHINGTON Senators Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2012 (SB 3431), which would amend the existing Controlled Substances Act to account for the introduction of new steroids that threaten to skirt existing regulation. The proposed legislation would add 25 new substances to the current list of defined anabolic steroids and streamline the process used to get new steroid substances added to the list. In addition, the Act would call for criminal and civil penalties of up to $2.5 million and up to 10 years in prison for those who manufacture, sell or distribute anabolic steroids, including pharmaceuticals and hormonal substances, manufactured to promote muscle growth or deliver a testosterone-like effect.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) endorsed the proposed legislation, saying the expanded control of these substances "would be implemented by your legislation would protect consumers by better ensuring that these are not misrepresented as legitimate dietary supplements, when clearly they are not." AHPA noted herbs and other botanicals, as well as concentrates, metabolites, extracts of and constituents isolated directly from herbal ingredients, are specifically excluded from the bill's definition of an anabolic steroid.

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) also supported the legislation, noting the bill provides the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) new enforcement tools to identify and quickly respond to new designer anabolic steroids that are created and marketed as dietary supplements, but are actually illegal drugs. " This legislation will allow DEA to target substances whose chemical structures mimic other 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," said Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN, in a statement.

This has been an active area for CRN and other stakeholders, as well as many regulators. CRN noted it has repeatedly called on Congress and other government officials to enact and enforce laws to eliminate illegal drug products marketed as dietary supplements. "Misbranded products that contain designer anabolic steroids present serious health risks to consumers, particularly young men who may be unaware of the dangers of anabolic steroid use," Mister 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 producing and selling legitimate, high quality and beneficial supplements for sports nutrition and performance. We pledge to do what we can to help pass this important legislation."

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been one of the most vocal and active members of Congress on the issue of steroids and adulterated products. He also has been tough on pro sports leagues, namely Major League Baseball, for their oversight of steroid use by players. In 2010, McCain helped introduce legislation that he said was designed to address intentional and unintentional steroid adulteration of products such as dietary supplements, that are easily available tot he general public, including young athletes. However, his proposed legislation focused on the dietary supplement industry and included mandatory registration and adverse event reporting for supplement companies; after hearing feedback on his bill and engaging the supplement industry, McCain withdrew his bill with the understanding a better bill would be explored with Hatch and other stakeholders. In contrast to McCain's 2010 bill, which industry argued would put undo burdens on countless law-abiding companies, the current proposal from Hatch and Whitehouse emphasizes the criminality of adulterating supplements and other non-drug products with steroids and newly designed steroids and precursors. It also calls for a significant penalty for violators and gives authorities more power to quickly amend the controlled substances list, thereby closing loopholes many criminals have tried to exploit.


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