Feds Getting Serious About Peptides, SARMS, and Research Chems
Disclaimers stating “not for human use” won’t protect vendors — they may result in additional charges. And misrepresentation to a credit card processor or bank can result in charges of money laundering and wire fraud.
Online vendors are under increased scrutiny from the Food and Drug Administration, and “not for human use” disclaimers have been increasingly used to charge companies with fraud. Although I have no way to confirm a solid number, I’ve heard (and believe) that 20+ companies are the subject of active investigations.
That number is supported by readily observable events, including a noticeable uptick in federal enforcement actions in the peptide, SARM, and research chemical world as of late. This is a likely result of several factors, notably the rise in popularity of peptides and SARMs, the relative necessity of research chems, the fact that there are confidential informants currently bartering the next few years of their lives for the next few years of several other people’s, and the relative ease with which a case can be made against these companies.
Addressing these factors in order, the first (a rise in the popularity of SARMs and peptides), is no surprise. They’re effective, widely and openly advertised, and relatively inexpensive. A few of them (IGF-I, for example) remain largely undetectable. For the customer, as these are performance enhancing drugs that lack a schedule (steroids are schedule 3, for example, while peptides and SARMs are unscheduled), they’re a no-brainer. Feds don’t bust people for buying research chems, SARMs, or peptides. As I’ve said before, they bust hookers, not johns. Online purchasers of these drugs have little to fear from law enforcement.
As to research chems (here I’m only talking about peri-cycle ancillary drugs like Clomid, Arimidex, and clenbuterol, not SARMs or peptides), it’s long been established protocol to buy them separately from a (steroid) cycle. More (or bigger) packages arriving from overseas sources could draw more attention, and legitimate pharmaceuticals (i.e. not generic research chems) are far more expensive.
My position on informants is likewise well-known, as are my actions when I was once afforded the opportunity (ask around). I have serious concerns with anyone claiming to be a friend or member of the community (any community) who propagates this type of activity.
To my final point, these types of cases are easy for FDA to investigate and for DOJ to prosecute. This applies not only to SARMs, peptides, and research chems, but to kratom as well — although in the case of kratom (a dietary supplement), potential charges for actual sales would probably be less severe than charges related to fraudulently claiming intended use other than human consumption.
While the social media clickerati will debate the pros and cons of disclaiming these types of products as “not for human use,” it’s become painfully obvious that these types of disclaimers are not having their intended effect; they neither dissuade humans from using the products, nor Department of Justice from prosecuting their purveyors.
A company in the kratom industry, Green House Kratom, even went so far as to send a letter to the FDA restating all of their “not for human or animal consumption” disclaimers (despite actively encouraging consumption on social media, per documents provided to MuckRock by FDA):
(It didn’t end well for Green House Kratom; the attempt at using a disclaimer as preemptive defense resulted in far more legal headaches.)
In another, early, instance, again clarified through a MuckRock FOIA request, Lion Nutrition (perhaps the first research chem business with a “not for human” disclaimer), in 2013, entered a guilty plea for operating:
“… an internet-based business called Lion Nutrition which sold drugs, purchased from China, which he knew would be taken by humans orally or through injection as bodybuilding and performance enhancing supplements…[and] knew that these drugs were misbranded and unapproved by the FDA on for human consumption.”
To further illustrate this point, consider a more recent criminal case that resulted in a ten month sentence.
Here, Thomas Keightly (aka Man Power, on ProfessionalMuscle.com) was sentenced to ten months imprisonment for conspiracy to commit money laundering and delivery of altered or misbranded drugs by fraud. The money laundering charge was little more than a result of using a credit card processing service and violating the terms of service, and depositing the proceeds of the fraudulent enterprise in a bank account.
But the charge of delivering altered or misbranded drugs by fraud is where it gets interesting, as the “not for human use” disclaimer was specifically mentioned throughout the indictment as evidence:
Hence, the disclaimer many believe insulates them from prosecution, can actually be used as evidence of fraud. In fact, his guilty plea was specifically related to the fraud evidenced by his disclaimers.
Mr. Keightly’s sentencing memorandum lists a number of similar cases that included those types of disclaimers in a variety of flavors (for research use only, not for human use, not for recreational purposes, etc…), none of which worked as a valid legal defense, and all of which were used against the defendant:
So while the Feds are cracking down, and more arrests are on the horizon, there are a lot of companies (in both the PED world and the kratom world) about to get hit with additional charges — as a direct result of the disclaimers.
Disclosures: I knew the owner of Precision Peptides before he opened the company, and worked with him on multiple discussion forums, in an unpaid capacity. It’s also likely that I know many of the people who are currently targets of the 20+ active investigations.
That number (20+) was provided through an anonymous tip, from someone who has established enough credibility with past tips for me to consider the information to be highly probable.