New Steroid Law Passed by Congress!

Yesterday, the long-awaited Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA) of 2014 was passed by Congress. You can read the text of the bill here. The Senate unanimously adopted the House version of the bill, sending the legislation to the President’s desk for his signature. Once signed, the new law will change the federal steroid statute to add numerous existing compounds marketed as “prohormone” dietary supplements to the list of Schedule III controlled substances and change the way future steroidal substances can be classified.

Intended to “protect consumers from potentially dangerous anabolic steroids falsely marketed as dietary supplements” (CRN announced the passing of the law in consumer protection terms), DASCA does so by classifying prohormone compounds into Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.

DASCA changes the way unlisted steroidal compounds are dealt with regarding marketing. It says that “a drug or hormonal substance (other than estrogens, progestins, corticosteroids, and dehydroepiandrosterone) that is not listed … and is derived from, or has a chemical structure substantially similar to, 1 or more [listed] anabolic steroids [is considered an anabolic steroid] if … [it] has been created or manufactured with the intent of [promoting muscle growth or having pharmacological effects like testosterone or] has been, or is intended to be, marketed or otherwise promoted [to suggest it will promote muscle growth or have pharmacological effects like testosterone].

DASCA introduces a whole new theory by which to prosecute steroid cases by making it a crime to import, export, manufacture, distribute, dispense, sell, offer to sell, or possess with intent to manufacture or sell any anabolic steroid, or any product containing an anabolic steroid, unless it bears a label clearly identifying the anabolic steroid by accepted (IUPAC) nomenclature. This provision would apply to manufacturers who use deceptive or “creative” ingredient labeling to conceal that the product is an anabolic steroid. It would also apply to distributors and retailers who know, intend, or have reasonable cause to believe that the product contains an anabolic steroid. Criminal penalties can be up to 10 years imprisonment and massive fines (up to $2.5 million on corporations). Civil penalties can be up to $500,000 per product violation for importers, exporters, manufacturers and distributors. Even retailers can be hit with a $25,000 penalty per product violation (and each package size, form, or differently labeled item is a separate product).

There is no “grace period” in the bill, so that if signed by the President the new law will become effective immediately. Consumers who recently bought these products and have them in their possession can be arrested and prosecuted as federal drug offenders. Supplement companies and distributors with remaining stock to sell will be subject to trafficking charges.

The federal law will apply nationwide. Whether individual state legislatures will also amend their laws to conform to the new federal law remains to be seen.

Collins, McDonald & Gann is available for consultation services regarding the new law. Feel free to call us at 516-294-0300 or email Ellie Sladic at esladic@cmgesq.com to schedule an appointment.