DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA — A bill seeking to regulate synthetic drugs designed to mimic the effects of testosterone has the backing of Sen. Orrin Hatch.
Hatch and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-RI, recently introduced the SARMs Control Act of 2018. This bipartisan bill builds on the success of the Designer Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 2014 by extending the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to regulate anabolic steroids to include selective androgen receptor modulators, or SARMs.
SARMs are associated with serious safety concerns, including the potential to increase the risk of heart attack or stroke and life-threatening reactions like liver damage. They are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for human use. The drugs are illegally marketed and sold as dietary supplements, and they are banned in all professional and college sports.
“SARMs are synthetic drugs that have negative effects similar to those of anabolic steroids,” Hatch said. “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.”
The legislation has received letters of support from the US Anti-Doping Agency and Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association as well as leaders of the dietary supplement industry.
“(The Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association) endorses this legislation giving additional authority to the Drug Enforcement Administration to enforce the illegal sales of SARMs,” Dominick L. Strokes, association vice president for legislative affairs, said. “It is our belief this legislation will help save the lives of individuals who are unaware of the serious side effects of these supplements. We look forward to standing with you on this important bipartisan legislation.”
The FDA recently issued warning letters to three companies for distributing products that contain SARMs, noting that the products are unapproved drugs that have not been reviewed by the FDA for safety and effectiveness. The United States Anti-Doping Agency and the Department of Defense operation supplement safety program warn about the risks of SARMs. Despite these enforcement actions and education efforts, SARMs are increasingly being purchased through the internet by athletes, recreational bodybuilders and members of the armed forces.
Specifically, the SARMs Control Act of 2018 would:
- Amend the Controlled Substances Act 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 SARM.
- 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 act.
- 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.
The SARMs Control Act of 2018 builds on the success of the Designer Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 2014 by extending the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to regulate anabolic steroids to include SARMs.