Dietary Supplement Associations Voice Support for Newly Proposed Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act


The bill would enable DEA to more ably enforce against illegal dietary supplements spiked with steroids.

Leading dietary supplement associations offered their support to a bill introduced yesterday by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), which would enhance the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) power to enforce against anabolic steroids.

The Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (SB 3431) would expand the definition of an “anabolic steroid”-which in turn would enable DEA to move more quickly in removing such illegal products from the market. For instance, by broadening the definition of an “anabolic steroid” to include substances marketed to “promote muscle growth,” the definition would encompass even slightly altered substances that still technically should be classified as steroids.

Notably, the proposed bill would also specifically exclude herbs and botanicals and dietary ingredients from being considered anabolic steroids, with this proposed phrase: “A substance shall not be considered to be a drug or hormonal substance…if it is an herb or other botanical [or] a concentrate, metabolite, or extract of, or a constituent isolated directly from, an herb or other botanical [or] is a dietary ingredient for purposes of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act…”

The proposed bill would also add more substances to the list created under the Controlled Substances Act and enhance the enforcement authority given to DEA by the 2004 Anabolic Steroid Control Act.

In addition to enforcing against steroids in general, the bill would enable DEA to more ably enforce against illegal dietary supplements spiked with steroids. This is why industry associations, including the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN; Washington, DC), the Natural Products Association (NPA; Washington, DC), and the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD), offered their support for the bill.


CRN’s Response:

“CRN strongly supports the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA), a bill that will protect consumers by providing the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) with new enforcement tools to identify and quickly respond when new designer anabolic steroids are created and marketed as dietary supplements when they are in fact illegal drugs,” said Steve Mister, president and CEO of CRN, in a press statement. “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.”

“CRN has consistently called on Congress and government agencies to enact and enforce laws that help eliminate illegal products masquerading as dietary supplements and to prosecute the criminals who manufacture and sell them. For example, CRN was instrumental in helping pass the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004, and has urged Congress to further tighten the controlled substance laws to prevent new anabolic steroids from being introduced.  In December 2010, CRN, along with four additional dietary supplement trade associations, joined forces with FDA to raise awareness about the significant public health problems posed by adulterated products illegally marketed as dietary supplements and heighten enforcement efforts targeting those illegal products.  Bodybuilding products unlawfully containing anabolic steroids are one of the categories receiving heightened review by FDA.” 

“CRN is proud to work with Senator Hatch and Senator Whitehouse on this critical issue. 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. 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.”


NPA’s Response:

NPA’s executive director and CEO John Shaw stated: “The Natural Products Association supports proactive measures to remove anabolic steroids, which are not legal dietary ingredients, from the market. We believe this legislation will help protect Americans from products spiked with steroids, and we express our support for this consumer-friendly legislation.”

“It’s important to note why we and others in the industry support this bill. Among other provisions, DASCA 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 Drug Enforcement Agency 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.”

“NPA applauds Senator Orrin Hatch and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse for working together to introduce this important legislation in Congress. We will continue our ongoing work with them and the rest of the industry to ensure that consumers have access to safe dietary supplements, and that products masquerading as supplements are taken out of the marketplace.”

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