Utah is the most important state for the U.S. supplement industry, so it is no surprise that Republican Senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch, together with Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse are spearheading a new law that takes dead aim at designer steroids, and the use of steroids in supplements.

The Designer Steroid Control Act of 2014 (DSCA) seeks to amend the U.S. Controlled Substance Act to include twenty-five new substances to the defined list of anabolic steroids. As well, the DSCA seeks to encompass future custom or designer steroids by setting new definitions for a controlled steroid, and providing new criteria for identifying, cataloguing, and adding compounds to the controlled list going forward. In the past, chemists were able to exploit loopholes in the Controlled Substance Act by modifiying steroids just enough that the result was technically not the same as the listed substance. The DSCA seeks to put an end to this loophole.

Importantly, the DSCA seeks to sharply increase the penalties for supplement manufacturers who adulterate their products with controlled performance enhancing compounds. The act provides for maximum fines of 2.5 million USD and up to 10 years in prison.

Industry trade groups, such as American Herbal Products Association, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, the Council for Responsible Nutrition, the Natural Products Association and the United Natural Products Alliance widely applauded the proposed new legislation, as did the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

Senators Hatch and Whitehouse introduced similar legislation two years ago, which failed to pass into law. This year, however, the legislation appears to have a better chance of becoming law, as the number of FDA enforcement actions against supplement makers has increased dramatically in the past two years. It will still be a long time before this proposal becomes law, if it ever becomes law. If it does, however, it will give U.S. regulators a powerful new tool to clean up the stigma of adulterated supplements.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014