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Firm tries to import huge batch of steroids

Building up muscle is a tough business Keystone

A Swiss firm has been taken to court after it was caught trying to import three tonnes of body-building steroids from Germany without a licence, the newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported on Sunday. The firm has not been named.

This content was published on March 16, 2014 - 18:59
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Lukas Jaggi, spokesman of swissmedic, the Swiss Agency for Therapeutic Products which is responsible for overseeing the safety of medicines, confirmed the newspaper report to the Swiss News Agency.

“Three tonnes is a huge amount; that doesn’t happen very often,” he said. “We don’t know what the importer thought it was going to do with three tonnes.”

The steroid Androstenedione is classified as a medicine in Switzerland because it is said to delay the aging process and is used as a food supplement. Medicines cannot be sold without a licence.

Known on the body-building scene as Andrion, it is on the list of the WADA anti-doping agency. It has the reputation of boosting the body’s production of testosterone and thus promoting muscle growth.

However, scientific studies have been unable to confirm either of these claims. On the other hand, Androstenedione has been shown to have side effects, including an increased risk of heart attack. Other possible consequences are hormonal damage, problems with fertility, an enlarged prostate, acne and hair loss.

The seizure was made in August, when customs officers noticed the huge amount of Androstenedione on a delivery note, and informed swissmedic. The authorities carried out a search of two premises and seized a large amount of material, the newspaper reported. Jaggi would not say whether this included the steroids, since the case is now sub judice. The location of the search has not been revealed.

The case went to the Federal Criminal Court in February. If found guilty, the importer faces up to five years in prison and a fine of CHF500,000 ($573,000).

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