In most countries, a pharmaceutical company is required to meet a specific set of regulations pertaining to the physical packaging of a pharmaceutical product. In some cases these regulations can be used to help evaluate the legitimacy of black market steroids, as all counterfeiters may not have the resources or forethought to implement the required features. Here, we discuss a number of attributes to examine, which should hold true for all of the drugs produced in the specified country.
First, it is very important to stress the fact that steroids are a controlled substance in the United States. Current controls are very effective at keeping American products off of the black market. It is much easier for the illicit dealers to import or manufacture their own products than it is to get any volume of legitimate American pharmaceuticals to distribute. Be leery of American items you encounter on the black market, as they are in all probability counterfeits. The best rule is to avoid all American items unless you can personally trace them back to a pharmacy.
The FDA provides us with a couple of strict requirements, which many counterfeiters overlook. The most predominant is that all legitimate American drugs cannot carry a label that will easily be removed from the vial/bottle. It must be so saturated with glue that you can only remove it in small pieces. This is done to protect the public from the possibility of drug mislabeling. With many U.S. counterfeits, the label can be peeled off the bottle quickly, in one or a few large pieces.
You should also moisten your thumb and rub the expiration date on the box and label. Quite often the ink on the counterfeit will smear and rub off easily. The stamping on a real U.S. pharmaceutical may streak slightly, but should remain intact and legible. Again, this is a requirement to protect consumers.
Additionally, being a Schedule III controlled substance, all commercially available human and veterinary anabolic/androgenic steroids are required to bear the tag “CIII” (see sample picture). The only exceptions would be cattle implant pellets, which are technically not controlled substances, or drugs from compounding pharmacies, which do not have to adhere to the same production guidelines. A small number of lazy counterfeiters continue to duplicate steroids that were manufactured before 1991, when this tag was not present.
The FDA requires that all tablets and capsules are identifiable through unique markings in case they are removed from the packaging. The manufacturer name, or an abbreviation, is usually found on each pill, along with a specific code for the product. Some steroid users have found the Poison Control Center to be a very useful resource in verifying these markings. The Poison Control Center has a full database of pill identification markings at their disposal, and should be able to tell you the drug and dosage based on them. The offices are usually very responsive if you explain it is not an emergency call. If your pill is not found in their database, it should be considered a fake product.
Italy: All drugs produced in Italy will bear the pictured drug identification sticker. The sticker itself is white, with red and black print. The sticker rests on a laminated surface, so that it can be peeled off and affixed to paperwork. You should never purchase an Italian drug if this sticker is not present. Drugs from Italy will also use abbreviations like Prep, Scad, and Del for the counterpart of lot #, manufacture, and expiration dates. English writing here would indicate counterfeiting.
All drugs produced in Italy will bear the pictured drug identification sticker. The sticker itself is white, with red and black print. The sticker rests on a laminated surface, so that it can be peeled off and affixed to paperwork. You should never purchase an Italian drug if this sticker is not present. Drugs from Italy will also use abbreviations like Prep, Scad, and Del for the counterpart of lot #, manufacture, and expiration dates. English writing here would indicate counterfeiting.
Greece also has a drug ID sticker that must be present on all drugs available for sale. The sticker itself rests on a laminated surface, so that it can be peeled off of the box and affixed to paperwork when a prescription is filled. Most importantly, the sticker will show a hidden mark when placed under UV light. Some counterfeiters have copied these stickers with excellent accuracy, right down to the laminated surface. Copies of the sticker bearing a hidden UV watermark, however, have not been located. Do not purchase any Greek drug without the proper sticker attached.
Spanish drugs do not bear a sticker, but instead have an area located on the box that contains a bar code and some drug information. This area will sometimes have indentations in the cardboard, so as to be removable if you tear the surface. At other times, the barcode is simply printed on the box. Spanish drugs also use the abbreviations Lote and Cad for lot number and expiration, respectively. date. Many drug boxes also carry Braille lettering.
Drug boxes from Portugal contain a rectangular area which displays the bar code and pricing information. This is sometimes found as a sticker, but most commonly it is printed, not stamped, onto the surface. In many cases, the area is indented, so that it can be removed from the box. Drugs from Portugal will also use the abbreviations Lote: and Val. Ate: for lot number and expiration date stampings
Drugs from France will bear a rectangular sticker somewhere on the surface of the box. The text and format is often slightly different item to item. Also, packaging always contains an area with a green and red box. In the sample below, it is in the lower left side of the box.
Wlliam Llewellyn (2011) - Anabolics