Government Holds Supplement Retailers Responsible for Selling Synthetic Steroids

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There was a time when many sports supplement retailers would offer practically any popular supplement for sale in their stores regardless of the legality of its contents. It didn’t matter if the supplement contained illegal synthetic steroids. The owner of the supplement store operated under the assumption that the company that made the supplements would ultimately hold all responsibility for its ingredients. Supplement retailers didn’t ask why the supplements they sold gave their customers all of the side effects of illegal anabolic steroids. They often didn’t care because they didn’t think they were liable. That has clearly changed.

Now that and its Chief Executive Officer Ryan DeLuca and former President Jeremy DeLuca have pleaded guilty to criminal charges and have been sentenced to pay $8.1 million in fines, supplement retailers around the country have been put on notice. The company pleaded guilty to illegally selling synthetic anabolic steroids and synthetic chemical clones of anabolic steroids.

If the largest supplement retailer in the world is held responsible for selling illegal synthetic steroids, then so are all the retailers, big and small. It doesn’t matter if you are a national chain like GNC or Vitamin Shoppe or a mom-and-pop store.

Wendy Olson, the United States Attorney who prosecuted the case, reiterated the significance and precedent set by corporate and individual plea agreements by and its officers.

“The $8.1 million fines imposed in this case send a clear message that retailers, as well as manufacturers, of products sold as dietary supplements have a clear responsibility under the law to ensure that the products they are selling are indeed dietary supplements, and not synthetic steroids or steroid clones masquerading as dietary supplements,” said U.S. Attorney Olson. “The officers of those retailers also now know that they will be held responsible and have an obligation to know what the products they sell contain.”

The federal case against was the impetus behind a new bill introduced by Orrin Hatch called the Designer Anabolic Steroid Control Act (DASCA). and its officers only pleaded guilty to illegally selling misbranded synthetic steroids. The steroids were not legally classified as Controlled Substances. However, the DASCA would reclassify all synthetic anabolic steroids and synthetic chemical clones of anabolic steroids as “controlled substances” subject to enforcement by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Supplement retailers who have historically sold synthetic steroids have usually only received the proverbial “slap on the wrist” for their violations of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA).

If the DASCA becomes law, the supplement retailers who continue selling synthetic steroids will be treated like internet- and gym-based steroid dealers. They will be prosecuted under the Anabolic Steroids Control Act.


Daniells, S. (August 6, 2012). steroid spiking case shows retailers also responsible for dietary supplements: US Attorney. Retrieved from