Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) this week introduced legislation that would grant the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) authority to crack down on selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs), a class of drugs identified in products unlawfully marketed as either dietary supplements or research chemicals.
The bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to add SARMs to the list of Schedule III controlled substances, ensuring SARMs are regulated by DEA in the same way as anabolic steroids, the lawmakers said Tuesday in a news release. Certain SARMs-related offenses would become “felony drug offenses” subject to civil penalties under the CSA, according to the news release.
FDA has reported SARMs pose serious safety concerns, including the potential to increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke and life-threatening reactions like liver damage. FDA has found the drugs being illegally marketed in dietary supplements, and several professional athletes have tested positive for SARMs, including ostarine.
“SARMs are synthetic drugs that have negative effects similar to those of anabolic steroids,” Hatch said in a statement. “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.”
Added Whitehouse: “American consumers deserve to know if they’re buying seriously dangerous drugs slipped into everyday dietary supplements.”
Leaders of dietary supplement trade associations and related stakeholder groups applauded the bipartisan legislative proposal.
“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,” said the heads of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the United Natural Products Association (UNPA) and the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), in a letter of support to Hatch and Whitehouse. “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.”