In April, the US Senate introduced the SARMs Control Act of 2018, which would empower the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to regulate selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) as an extension of the Designer Anabolic Steroids Control Act of 2014. Few people understand what SARMs are, and even fewer know how to spot them. This becomes problematic for payment facilitators onboarding merchants selling bodybuilding and weight-loss products online because there is a risk that the website is facilitating the sale of SARMs.
It’s important to know not only what SARMs are but how to spot them. Well-meaning payment facilitators can experience expensive card brand fines if even one product on a merchant’s website contains an unapproved drug such as SARMs. The problem is that SARMs or products containing SARMs are not always easy to spot.
First of all, many products may appear to be dietary supplements for use in bodybuilding but aren’t clearly identified as containing SARMs. Below is a screenshot of a website selling Adonis, Athena, and Black Magic, products that all purport to contain SARMs, though it's not readily apparent by their names — you have to look at the ingredients listed below.
Second, SARMs come in many forms, including liquid, powder, pills, and capsules. There is no easy way to quickly identify whether a product contains a SARM just by looking at its form.
Because product names and forms don’t immediately identify SARMs, it’s important to look at product ingredient labels. But even these can be confusing because some products that sound like SARMs (and may even function like them) are not technically SARMs. For example, the following substances are some popular SARMs:
- LGD-4033 (also known as Ligandrol, VK5211)
- MK-2866 (also known as Enobosarm, Ostarine)
- RAD-140 (also known as Testolone)
- S-4 (also known as Andarine)
However, the following ingredients, though frequently marketed and sold as SARMs, are not technically SARMs. They are experimental compounds that produce effects similar to SARMs and are frequently lumped in with SARMs by government agencies, but are, nonetheless, not technically SARMs.
- GW-501516 (also known Cardarine, Endurobol)
- MK-677 (also known Ibutamoren)
These substances are, with few exceptions, just as problematic and potentially dangerous as SARMs (and sometimes even more so).
Being able to properly identify SARMs takes experts who are familiar with these products and who keep on top of regulatory news regarding unapproved drugs. Merchants offering SARMs for human consumption may face legal action, and payment providers who onboard these merchants are at risk for card brand fines. Alongside the world's largest database of problematic products, LegitScript has a team of leading experts that keeps abreast of new products such as SARMs and tracks the regulatory and card brand trends that follow.
Want to receive our full SARMs FAQ guide? Sign up for our newsletter and be among the first to get access to it when we release it later this month.