Black Market in Illegal Sports Supplements

Black Market in Illegal Sports Supplements Black Market in Illegal Sports Supplements

Despite efforts to import dietary supplements legally, black-market in the trade is thriving.  

Dietary supplements are endorsed by gyms and fitness centers to build muscle and boost energy, but smuggled sports supplement often contain harmful steroids, stimulants, hormones and noxious additives. They are highly risky and can cause serious health damage and even lead to death in some instances, said Rasoul Dinarvand, head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

In recent years, sports supplements have become increasingly popular among gym-goers. People interested in body-building, opt for supplements that rapidly burn away fat and boost athletic performance. Although the products claim to boost energy, they contain unapproved ingredients that can cause kidney failure, heart problems or seizures, reports IRNA.

Dinarvand said supplements under the supervision of the FDA account for 50% of the total available in the market. The rest are illegal indicating the growing demand for dietary supplements due to the large-scale advertisements and marketing, particularly on the Internet. This had made it difficult to supervise and restrict the supply chain.

The domestic pharmaceutical industries should start investing in production of supplements. “Food, dietary and sport supplements should be produced locally as this helps the FDA to keep close vigil on quality.”

Global revenues from health products (medicines, medical equipment, hygienic products and food and dietary supplements) stands at about $2,400 billion every year. Food and dietary supplements generate $100 billion worldwide, of which 20% is attributed to sport supplements.

Iran’s share of the global value is less than 5% or $12 billion. Of this amount $400 million is attributed to dietary supplements.

The production, storage and transportation of illegal supplements are not transparent and costly procedures would be needed to validate their safety.

Agreements have been signed with the Ministry of Sports to facilitate accessibility to authorized supplements. The FDA will also beef up the registration process of authorized products.