The socio-political environment for the non-medical use of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) has rarely been worse. Every day, there are “anti-steroid” news reports in local and national papers and newsmagazines. The number of customs seizures of imported pharmaceuticals has increased dramatically. The Patriot Act is being used to obtain access to AAS dealers private email accounts. The number of arrests and controlled deliveries is on the rise. Even Congress has scheduled a Congressional Hearing on “Steroids in Baseball” to assess the impact AAS has on, among other things, teenage suicide!
So, it is no surprise that thousands of bodybuilders have decided to avoid the black market for fear of the legal consequences. At the same time, they have been presented with a very attractive option advertised within the pages of several popular bodybuilding and men’s magazines – legal, physician-prescribed anabolic steroids! Sure, these longevity clinics charge much more for the androgens than comparable prices on the black market. But they are genuine pharmaceuticals prescribed by U.S. based physicians and dispensed by DEA-registered pharmacies. And best of all they are legal!!
Or are they?
Invisible Doctor Scenario
An “invisible doctor” scenario is one in which there is no face-to-face physical examination by the physician. According to Rick Collins, author of, the FDA and the DEA do not consider the “invisible doctor” scenario as practiced by most online longevity clinics a legitimate doctor-patient relationship. As such, prescriptions for AAS are considered “invalid.”
In addition, it is often illegal for physicians to prescribe pharmaceuticals to patients who reside in states where they are not licensed. Such prescriptions are also invalid.
If any physician prescribes AAS for non-medical purposes such as bodybuilding or muscle-building purposes, the prescription is invalid.
So, big deal? The prescription is invalid. The doctors are still willing to prescribe AAS and the pharmacy honors the prescription. What do you have to worry about?
Well, technically an invalid prescription is no different than not having a prescription at all. You are in possession of controlled substances without a valid prescription; this technically makes it no different than obtaining your AAS via the black market. Oops.
Technical versus Practical Aspects of the Law
There are technical aspects of the law and practical aspects.
If a doctor prescribes 1000mg of testosterone enanthate to someone, then technically the prescription is invalid. And technically, possession of testosterone enanthate is no different than purchasing it off the black market.
But practically-speaking, there is a world of difference.
Thousands of individuals have been arrested and prosecuted for possession of black market androgens.
I do not know of anyone who has been arrested and prosecuted for possession of androgens prescribed by their doctor, even under an “invisible doctor” relationship.
The most likely scenario is that the physicians will lose their license and face criminal prosecution and penalties. Patient records will be seized and reviewed. Perhaps a few patients will be subpoenaed to testify against the doctors.
Safe from Legal Prosecution?
While the odds are good that you will not be prosecuted when ordering from online longevity clinics as described above, I would not guarantee it. You, as the patient, are technically in violation of the Controlled Substances Act.
Recent events have suggested that law enforcement is ready to prosecute patients.
Last month (February 2005), federal agents from the FDA raided Powermedica.com offices and arrested the principals. Search warrants released by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami indicate that agents were looking for mislabeled growth hormone and AAS that were sold with invalid prescriptions.
Federal agents wasted no time thoroughly reviewing patient records. During this process, they discovered eight local sheriff’s deputies that were patients of Powermedica.com and obtained AAS without a valid prescription. This information was turned over to the Broward Country Sheriff’s Department for further action.
The Sheriff’s Department has placed the eight deputies on administrative assignment pending the results of an Internal Affairs investigation into the matter. The decision of whether to turn it over to the State Attorney General for criminal prosecution will be made at the conclusion of the investigation.
This could be a precedent-establishing case. According to Rick Collins, this is the “first time” he has seen patients of online longevity clinics targeted.
Let’s hope this is not the start of a trend towards prosecution of patients who obtain AAS from online physicians. I wanted MESO-Rx readers to be fully informed regarding this issues. For further information, I highly recommend Rick Collins’ thorough legal treatise on AAS and the law –. His book goes into great details on all the issues I mentioned in this article.