09. Counterfeit Steroids

As the name implies, counterfeit steroids are copies of real anabolic/androgenic steroid products, which are made from illicit producers. These drugs are intended for sale on the black market, ultimately to consumers who believe they are buying a legitimate pharmaceutical item from the labeled company. There are many important issues to consider with the potential use of counterfeit steroids. For one, these products are made by criminal operations. The contents of such products, by the very nature of these operations, cannot be verified. In many cases, the counterfeiters will never even use any active steroid at all, and will simply sell an expensive and essentially worthless bottle of inert carriers, fillers, and binders. In other cases, they will substitute lower doses or cheaper steroids to make their profit margins higher.

Even if a counterfeit does contain the active steroid in question, it may not be a clean and safe product. Today, we take for granted the fact that our drug products are made with sterile and pure ingredients. We also give little thought to aseptic processing techniques, which manufacture our drug products free of contamination by harmful bacteria, viruses, or microorganisms. This is especially important with injectable medications, since many of the human body's normal defenses against infection are bypassed when a drug is introduced directly into the body. The theoretical risks of injecting a contaminated drug product are innumerable, and range from simple injection-site infection, to life threatening allergic reactions or illness. These risks are in addition to other serious contamination risks that could be present in any drug product, injected or otherwise. Counterfeiters very rarely produce their steroids with such sophisticated and expensive materials and techniques.

As anyone that studies the illicit anabolic steroid trade knows, high demand and huge profits offer strong incentive for the manufacture of counterfeit drugs. Over the years, this segment of the illegal business has grown exponentially. What was once a problem largely isolated to the United States can now be found in literally every corner of the globe. Counterfeiting is a phenomenon not isolated to anabolic steroids, of course, and is commonly seen when the phenomenon not isolated to anabolic steroids, of course, and is commonly seen when the significant sales of anything valuable are diverted from legitimate to underground sources. Given the nature of drug products, however, the counterfeit steroid phenomenon is an especially important health concern for drug-using bodybuilders. As the number of these products grows, so too does the number of reports of low or no product efficacy, or worse, health consequences including abscess, infection, anaphylaxis, and toxicity caused by heavy metal contamination.

Prevalence Study

By all estimates, counterfeit steroids are very common in all corners of the global steroid black market. Given the illicit nature in which counterfeit steroid products are traded, however, it is difficult to determine the exact prevalence of these drugs. Analysis reports of law enforcement seizures offer an occasional snapshot of the quality of steroid sales in a particular region. One such study was conducted at the Center for Preventative Doping Research in Cologne, Germany, and involved 70 different anabolic steroids and ancillary drug products. All of the samples analyzed were obtained during police raids of three illegal dealers of anabolic steroids. It is important to emphasize that while the amount seized is a fairly large sample for this type of analysis, 70 drug products taken from three dealers is not sufficient to prove any specific market trend, overall counterfeit prevalence, or brand legitimacy.

Overall, more than one-third (34%) of the 50 anabolic steroids tested did not have ingredients that matched their labels, and were clearly made from illicit manufacturers. Of the failing products, nine were identified as copies of known pharmaceutical brands, and would be considered classic counterfeits. These made up 18% of the drug products in inventory by the arrested dealers. The remaining eight (16%) that failed were underground steroid products, which are discussed separately in this book. There were six additional products on the list that passed testing that were made by underground manufacturers (British Dragon, SB Labs, and International Pharmaceuticals). In total, legitimate drug companies did not manufacture 46% of the steroid products that were being sold by these dealers in Germany. The results are probably a good reflection of what is happening on the European market in general. Given the tighter legal controls on steroids in the United States, counterfeit and underground products are expected to make up an even higher percentage of products illegally sold in this market.

Visual Inspection

The researchers in Cologne Germany also made an important observation. Aside from known underground products from labs such as British Dragon, SB Labs, and International Pharmaceuticals, they noted it was not possible to ascertain what product was real and what was a counterfeit upon visual inspection. While this group may not have had the experience or reference materials necessary to make an up-close product examination, and no product photos were provided in the report to reference, it does underline a problem that the steroid using community has been noticing for a long time, namely counterfeit manufacturing operations are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Now more than ever it can be difficult for someone shopping on the black market to determine product legitimacy before making a purchase and actually consuming the product(s).

The “Best” Products

Of the confiscated German products, those that were manufactured in Western Europe seemed to offer greater assurance of legitimacy than those of other regions. Thailand also remains a common source country for legitimate products not commonly manufactured in Western Europe including oxymetholone and methandrostenolone. This is in great contradiction to the United States, where regional products (U.S. and Canada) are those most likely to be the subject of counterfeiting. Also, the study showed that the less costly testosterone products were most likely to be legitimate, even if they originated outside of Europe. It appears that, at least by way of these three dealers, a good deal of legitimate Karachi Sustanon and Egyptian testosterone enanthate are being imported into Germany. It is of note that the one failure of CID enanthate was due to the inclusion of some testosterone cypionate in addition to the labeled enanthate. It is unknown if this was an error that occurred at the manufacturing plant, or the product was the subject of counterfeiting.

The “Worst” Products

Perhaps due to high recognition and demand, all of the Normal Hellas nandrolone decanoate products tested during this analysis run were determined to be counterfeit. These products were confiscated from each of the three dealers independently. In all cases, these steroid products contained testosterone instead of nandrolone decanoate. This is a common substitution with deviant nandrolone products, as low doses of testosterone can provide a similar level of anabolic effect as nandrolone for some users, with a similar low incidence of side effects. Testosterone is also much less expensive to manufacture in comparison to nandrolone decanoate. The hope is that many users will not be able to identify testosterone as the content. Norma Hellas Deca, therefore, remains a product of extremely high risk on the European and international markets. Great care should be taken to examine any product closely for the required security features shown in this book.

Other Bodybuilding “Ancillary” Drugs

A total of 20 non-steroid drugs were also tested. All products that would be defined as common ancillary drugs including tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex), clomiphene citrate (Clomid), thyroid hormone, caffeine, and yohimbine hcl turned out to be legitimate. This underlines the lower risk in these ancillary drug items, no doubt due to the lower financial incentive for counterfeiters to duplicate these cheap and easy to access pharmaceuticals. The only nonsteroid drugs where there was some substitution noted were in the male sexual performance category, which constitute drugs such as Viagra and Cialis. In most of the individual cases the drugs did test out as labeled. When they did fail testing, however, it was usually for the substitution of active ingredients of the same drug family. Male sexual performance products are known to be an active area of counterfeiting, so care should be taken when purchasing these products from illicit channels as well.

Steroid Analysis Results

Steroid Analysis Results Anadrol (oxymetholone):
1. Oxytone 50 mg (SB Labs, Thailand) Result: PASS
2. Oxytone 50 mg (SB Labs, Thailand) Result: PASS
3. Oxytone 50 mg (SB Labs, Thailand) Result: PASS

Deca (nandrolone decanoate):
1. Norma Hellas (100 mg/mL) Result:FAIL (testosterone)
2. Norma Hellas (100 mg/mL) Result: FAIL (testosterone)
3.Norma Hellas (100 mg/mL) Result: FAIL (testosterone)
4. Norma Hellas (100 mg/mL) Result: FAIL (testosterone)
5. Decabol 250 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: FAIL (testosterone)

Dianabol (methandrostenolone):
1. Anabol 5 mg (British Dispensary, Thailand) Result: FAIL (methyltestosterone)
2. Anabol 5 mg (British Dispensary, Thailand) Result: PASS
3. Anabol 5 mg (British Dispensary, Thailand) Result: PASS Result: PASS
4. Danabol DS 10 mg (March, Thailand) Result: PASS
5. Danabol DS 10 mg (March, Thailand) Result: PASS
6. Naposim 5 mg (Terapia, Romania) Result: FAIL (methyltestosterone)

Equipoise (boldenone undecylenate):
1. Boldabol 200 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: PASS

Halotestin (fluoxymesterone):
1. Fluoxymesterone (IP, Underground) Result: PASS

Primobolan (methenolone enanthate):
1. Primobol 100 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: FAIL (nandrolone, testosterone)

Proviron (mesterolone):
1.Proviron 25 mg Result: PASS

Sustanon 250 (testosterone mix):
1. Sustanon 250 (Karachi, Pakistan) Result: PASS
2. Sustanon 250 (Nile, Egypt) Result: FAIL (different testosterones)
3. Sustanon 250 (Nile, Egypt) Result: FAIL (different testosterones)
4. Sustanon 250 (Karachi, Pakistan) Result: PASS
5. Sustanon 250 (Karachi, Pakistan) Result: PASS
6. Sustanon 250 (Karachi, Pakistan) Result: PASS
7. Sustanon 250 (Karachi, Pakistan) Result: PASS
8. Sustanon 250 (Karachi, Pakistan) Result: PASS
9. Sustanon 250 (Karachi, Pakistan) Result: PASS

Testosterone Cypionate:
1. Testex Prolongatum 125 (Q Pharma, Spain) Result: PASS
2. Testabol 200 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: FAIL (different testosterones)

Testosterone Enanthate:
1. Testofort 250 mg/mL (Pliva, Pakistan) Result: PASS
2. Testosterone Depot 250 (Eifelfango, Germany) Result: PASS
3. Testosterone Depot 250 (Eifelfango, Germany) Result: PASS
4. Testoviron Depot 250 (Medipharm, Pakistan) Result: PASS
5. Testoviron Depot 250 (Medipharm, Pakistan) Result: PASS
6. Cidoteston 250 (CID, Egypt) Result: FAIL (includes T. cypionate)
7. Cidoteston 250 (CID, Egypt) Result: PASS

Testosterone Propionate:
1. Testovis 100 mg/mL (SIT, Italy) Result: PASS
2.Testovis 100 mg/mL (SIT, Italy) Result: PASS
3. Testovis 100 mg/mL (SIT, Italy) Result: PASS
4. Testovis 100 mg/mL (SIT, Italy) Result: PASS
5. Testovis 100 mg/mL (SIT, Italy) Result: PASS
6. Testabol (British Dragon, Underground) Result: FAIL (different testosterones)

Trenbolone (various esters):
1. Trenabol 75 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: FAIL (boldenone, testosterone)
2. Trenabol 100 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: FAIL (boldenone, testosterone)
3. Tri-Trenabol 150 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: FAIL (trenbolone, testosterone)
4. Trenabol 200 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: FAIL (trenbolone, testosterone)

Winstrol (stanozolol):
1. Winstrol Depot 50 mg/mL (Zambon, Spain) Result: PASS
2. Winstrol Depot 50 mg/mL (Zambon, Spain)) Result: PASS
3. Winstrol Depot 50 mg/mL (Zambon, Spain) Result: PASS
4. Stanabol 50 (British Dragon, Underground) Result: PASS

References

Wlliam Llewellyn (2011) - Anabolics

Back to Steroids administration

Caution

We make no claims that the information on this web site is appropriate. Access to the materials on this web site may not be legal by certain persons or in certain countries. If you access this web site, you do so at your own risk and are responsible for compliance with the laws of your jurisdiction.