PEDs Production & Distribution? How?

Jul 23, 2010
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Sure hope I'm not stepping into a minefield here! :eek:

That being said, there must be another side to this saga, that is, the supply of the substances. I'm wondering what route is taken for the cyclists to get them in their possession. Here's a chart that some of you can help complete. How do they get their hands on such large amounts of stuff? Perhaps it isn't a large amount after all, and perhaps 1 botltle of so-and-so lasts for a long time. As far as I can see, in this chapter of the book of doping, the cyclists are at the bottom of the food chain.

 
Microchip said:
Sure hope I'm not stepping into a minefield here! :eek:

That being said, there must be another side to this saga, that is, the supply of the substances. I'm wondering what route is taken for the cyclists to get them in their possession. Here's a chart that some of you can help complete. How do they get their hands on such large amounts of stuff? Perhaps it isn't a large amount after all, and perhaps 1 botltle of so-and-so lasts for a long time. As far as I can see, in this chapter of the book of doping, the cyclists are at the bottom of the food chain.

There is high coincidence / overlap in the routes and organizations, especially organized crime, involved in the trafficking of narcotics and of PEDs.

While I cannot find the exact, recent report that provides a good summary on this, here are a couple of relevant quotes:

"...drug trafficking still occurs in significant quantities in both directions across the border. The principal illicit substances smuggled across our shared border are marijuana, cocaine, precursor chemicals and steroids ...

...Traffickers of each of these illicit substances can be individuals, but are increasingly part of organized crime groups. ..."


Dave.
 
Sep 5, 2009
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I think you need to include in there a level "Unapproved drugs obtained whilst undergoing proving in field testing".
 
Oct 12, 2012
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don't forget private clinics, veterinarians, online pharmacies (worldwide shipping), medical warehouses. you'll allways find a way to let medication dissapear. Hell even a pharmecy clerc that takes in medication that is being returned (change of recipe / death etc) might be able to withhold them.

add to that differences in laws around the world. medication might be free of recipe in the middle east/eastern europe/former soviet union/south america or africa, but limited in europe / northern america

there are examples of riders ordering online (vansevenant, TB-500 from australia intended for horses)
 
Sep 13, 2012
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Mexico is a big route for steroids to get into the US, you also have Anti aging clinics in America which will for a hefty fee prescribe you almost any of the steroids you want.

Online pharmacies shipping from countries that don't have tight regulation etc. For example it is meant to be very easy to get steroids in the UAE and can get them without much hassle. A lot of abnormally huge guys out in the Gym's there.

And you can't forget that EPO and other performance enhancing drugs can be prescribed for legitimate medical needs, so I assume that doctors may be able to write a number of fake prescriptions etc.

Vets would be another route as certain animal steroids etc are suitable for human use, however I know a lot of bodybuilders etc. are nervous about there use as often Vet drugs don't have to undergo same regs as those for human consumption.

Another even riskier alternative is Underground Labs, though you would imagine these to be quite rare there are plenty of forums and discussions centered around home brewing certain steroids.
 
Also keep in mind once a PED is recognized, then legitimate and fake copies are made. It's not a small task to copy a drug, but not enormous either.

A popular "ED" drug is a great example. You don't have the R&D overhead and the chemistry is mostly worked out at some point. Package it in a country with lax intellectual property law and sell! Sell! Sell!!!

Slava mentions the same thing as "underground labs."
 
manafana said:
can tell you the tennis players sure are on the magic stuff, i played 5sets today and im gone couldnt play another 5setter in morning.
You need better mental discipline.

You should also spend more time on your bike. What are you on? You are on the tennis court, silly.

Dave.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Yes, this is the part every investigation ignores, even the latest one.

When you find which company, pharmacist or doctor is letting them go out un-accounted because if you don't already know every batch of official drugs are labeled and can be tracked down to the day they made the drug. Sure you can remove labels and even have a rouge chemist but in reality they never ever dig deep enough to find out where they originate from or at least to figure out who let them slip from the system.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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If all 1000 professional male cyclists all had a line on EPO i think the drug companies will sell more at a much lower risk and same profit in a big city like Vancouver. So if there are 1000 prescription bearing people in Vancouver. How hard is it to hide 1000 world wide? Anyone have real sales numbers for EPO? I am thinking all athletes are hardly a sales blip for this drug. It is still under patent protection isn't it?
 
Mar 10, 2009
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Master50 said:
If all 1000 professional male cyclists all had a line on EPO i think the drug companies will sell more at a much lower risk and same profit in a big city like Vancouver. So if there are 1000 prescription bearing people in Vancouver. How hard is it to hide 1000 world wide? Anyone have real sales numbers for EPO? I am thinking all athletes are hardly a sales blip for this drug. It is still under patent protection isn't it?
Its also not such a cheap drug so there is a good money trail that can be followed.

Then, most people who need it are hardly a sign of great health.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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For steroids and such you have to include bros dealing to bros, not necessarily face to face. There is a whole cottage industry of users who pay for their drugs or make a little cash on the side by selling to a small set of repeat customers.

Body building sites that allow discussion of AAS are filled with hilarious methods for avoiding prosecution. These are plans like accepting the package of roids when it is delivered but putting it unopened on the kitchen table for a week. If the cops come then they will come shortly after delivery and you can claim you did not order it and have no idea what is in the package. Things have become more difficult since 9/11 because using a fake identity to rent a post office box can no longer be done without breaking laws that may be more serious than ordering AAS.

Ordering over the Internet has to be common these days.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Dear Wiggo said:
It's been 5 years - would be good to see an update on this.
I agree. Still, it will at least give an idea of the massive scale of corruption that goes on with these drugs. I'm willing to bet that as a percentage, black market EPO constitutes a much bigger percentage of sales than it did at the time the Donati report was published; long-term therapeutic use has been in significant decline over the last few years, for a variety of reasons.

While the specifics have no doubt changed, I imagine the basic message would be the same: PED's are a significant source of income for a lot of people, including the drug companies, and there is massive corruption involved at all levels.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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131313 said:
I agree. Still, it will at least give an idea of the massive scale of corruption that goes on with these drugs. I'm willing to bet that as a percentage, black market EPO constitutes a much bigger percentage of sales than it did at the time the Donati report was published; long-term therapeutic use has been in significant decline over the last few years, for a variety of reasons.

While the specifics have no doubt changed, I imagine the basic message would be the same: PED's are a significant source of income for a lot of people, including the drug companies, and there is massive corruption involved at all levels.
I guess specifically for EPO and endurance-based drugs, an update would help provide pointers to the claims made by many that the peloton is slowing down because you can't dope as much as you used to. That it is in fact cleaning up. I am assuming a relatively static market for the endurance drugs, granted.

I mean. Levi et al all stopped doping in 2006/7, so the Donati report 2007-2012 should show a marked decline in EPO sales, right?
 
Dear Wiggo said:
I guess specifically for EPO and endurance-based drugs, an update would help provide pointers to the claims made by many that the peloton is slowing down because you can't dope as much as you used to. That it is in fact cleaning up. I am assuming a relatively static market for the endurance drugs, granted.

I mean. Levi et al all stopped doping in 2006/7, so the Donati report 2007-2012 should show a marked decline in EPO sales, right?
Has there not been a lot of skepticsim about the figures in the Donati report? The size of the illegal market relative to the legitimate one does not make sense.

These days there is so much produced in China and at a cost that is a fraction of what is charged by legit pharma companies that I cannot see the black market use of EPO having much of an effect on legit companies.
 
Jun 18, 2009
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Dear Wiggo said:
I guess specifically for EPO and endurance-based drugs, an update would help provide pointers to the claims made by many that the peloton is slowing down because you can't dope as much as you used to. That it is in fact cleaning up. I am assuming a relatively static market for the endurance drugs, granted.
I'm not sure that's a fair assumption. I think the market has probably expanded quite a bit, to sports that are alactic in nature but have an endurance component, e.g. hockey, tennis, football, basketball, etc. I think cycling did a good job of proving the drugs work really well for performance enhancement, and while they may not be nearly as effective in those other sports, the controls are also a lot less or non-existent. So, I don't think the market is static, at all.



Dear Wiggo said:
I mean. Levi et al all stopped doping in 2006/7, so the Donati report 2007-2012 should show a marked decline in EPO sales, right?
Well, there is that...


BroDeal said:
Has there not been a lot of skepticsim about the figures in the Donati report? The size of the illegal market relative to the legitimate one does not make sense.

These days there is so much produced in China and at a cost that is a fraction of what is charged by legit pharma companies that I cannot see the black market use of EPO having much of an effect on legit companies.
There's been a lot of skepticism from drug companies who make the drugs and some of those involved in policing it. There have also been criticisms of that which hunt against that guy who never tested positive... Something to keep in mind is that legitimate therapeutic of EPO has taken a significant hit; other treatments have become available and at the same time long-term research indicated much less positive outcomes than was thought originally...and there's been a lot of pressure to dramatically alter (by alter I mean lessen) the prescribed protocols (this is really it's own scandal, which makes the Armstrong thing small potatoes, but no need to get too sidetracked). So, it's been a triple whammy of sorts. In short, I think it's delusional to think that illegal PEDs aren't a significant source of income for the drug companies.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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My understanding is limited, but it says drug companies are big business, and most of it is unseen. Some government subsidies, PBS allowances. And lots of secret research all in the name of IP protection.

Something to add to the manifesto ;)
 
Aug 27, 2012
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Virtually all EPO would find its way to athletes via prescriptions from friendly doctors (maybe veterinarians) or directly without prescription from friendly pharmacies (in countries where prescriptions are less well controlled). Drug companies themselves would not be involved, unless there is a "special" arrangement, which could have well been the case in the mid-late 80's onwards at Amgen with their cycling sponsorship. Amgen was quite small at the time from memory, and a senior management arrangement is not hard to imagine.

Most medium and large sized drug companies (eg Pfizer, GSK, etc) would not be interested in supplying illegally, it's just not interesting enough financially and the reputation risks being caught are just not worth it. On the other hand, there are small companies, notably in China, where regulations are still loose and "flexible", that will produce certain molecules "made to order". Of particular interest to athletes would be those drugs for which no test exists yet, ie analogues with metabolic pathways different to the existing drugs. Hence team managers (eg. Bruyneel) and doctors being highly interested in understanding the workings of WADA etc.

"Secret research" is possible in theory, but highly unlikely. For reasons stated above, but also as it's not that easy to access for athletes. One would have to have connections within the research departments to get access to drug supply, which is pretty well regulated and accounted for internally within the company. So someone inside the drug company would have to be in on the fraud and act on his/her own. To make the connection, ie for the athlete to know who to contact would be quite hard. Contrary to popular conspiracy thinking, by far most people working within the drug firms are of high moral and ethical standard. And the internal workings of drug firms, although not well known publicly, are highly structured and regulated. So a fraudulent rogue would not have an easy time, at least not in a medium-large drug firm.

I would estimate "off label" use for EPO (ie. use of the drug for indications for which it is not licensed, eg. athlete performance enhancement) could be quite significant, and may be estimated from epidemiology data on the diseases for which the drug is licensed (total number of patients with disease, and number of newly presenting patients per year), as well as sales data, which is available for some countries on the web via government data.

Contrary to steroids, I would estimate imported EPO not to be an issue in Australia. Remember EPO is a protein that needs to be kept refrigerated at all times. As such there would virtually be no illegally imported drug supply by airmail.
 
Sep 29, 2012
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Thomas Weisel helped finance Amgen - the early EPO drug company. I think that's enough of a connection, don't you?

;)
 
Jul 26, 2012
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The Italian investigating magistrate has compiled a dossier on the trafficking routes used by Michele Ferrari. Some of the information was published by La Gazetta last week in their multiple spreads on doping in the wake of the Armstrong debacle. By their account, quite a network.
 
Aug 27, 2012
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Dear Wiggo said:
Thomas Weisel helped finance Amgen - the early EPO drug company. I think that's enough of a connection, don't you?

;)
Didn't know that. Absolutely. 100% dodgy. Private under the radar supply almost a certainty.
 

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