Fake steroid seizures up in Brazil as black market booms

Muscle manSeizures of counterfeit anabolic steroids in Brazil have skyrocketed in recent years as a black market has emerged online and in gyms.

In 2006, Brazilian police seized 41 packets of anabolic steroids, one of which was found to be fake. Over the following years total seizures and the proportion of counterfeits rose quickly. In 2011, police seized 1468 steroids, 570 of which were shown to be counterfeit.

Over the six years analysed in the Forensic Science International research paper, police seized 1167 fake steroids. Close to half of the counterfeits contained no active ingredient, while a further 30 per cent were made up of drugs other than those mentioned on the product label.

One-in-six were identifiable as fake from the packaging alone, either because printing was of low quality or the name of a non-existent manufacturer was used. It is likely some fakes with better packaging were declared genuine as only three-quarters of seizures were chemically analyzed.

Despite the sharp rise in fakes from 2006 to 2011, the proportion of counterfeits is still in line with smaller surveys of the markets in Belgium and Germany. In each study, close to one-third of the steroids analyzed were found to be counterfeit.

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