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What are they buying? Black Market Steroids in 2021

Naturally, there will always be a Black Market in Steroids and especially so when we see a government crackdown. As the front man for the Dead Kennedy’s Jello Biafra once said, “For every prohibition you create, you also create an underground.”

So which is the most counterfeited anabolic steroid? How do you spot a fake? Do Black Market Steroids actually contain…eh, Steroids?

Illegal Steroid shipment seizure blog image

– Illegal steroid seizure. Source: S.A Police

Are Black Market Steroids the real thing?

Looking at the capsule, tablet or liquid, it’s impossible to tell if we’re looking at the real deal. Increasingly sophisticated, black market dealers sell glossy counterfeit products virtually impossible to tell apart from the real thing.

A huge bust in Germany a few years back gave insight into the previously shadowy black market steroid industry. It turns out (surprise surprise) medicines sold underground in Europe as ‘steroids’ may contain alternatives which are cheaper. An example is when nandrolone is substituted for the cheaper testosterone, making the dealer more profit.

 Sustanon 250 Rip Off’s

Whilst they may not contain the same ingredients, the below products are Sustanon 250 (ripoffs) variants. Cleverly disguised and illegally leveraging of the Sustanon reputation, they are legally sold in a handful of countries where they are not considered counterfeits. 

  • Sustobolic made by Asia Pharma and available in Thailand chemists.
  • Testo Comp 250 is also available on prescription in Thai pharmacies.
  • Sustamed made by Baulken Pharma’ in Moldova. 
  • Sustenon 250 redi-jects made by Organon-MSD, Mexico. Once flooded the market, not seen so much in 2021. 
  • Agovirin-Depot Testosterone isobutyrate Czech Republic & Slovakia only.
  • Perandren M Testosterone isobutyrate.
  • Testocryst Testosterone isobutyrate.
  • Virex-Cryst Testosterone isobutyrate.

Spotting the fakes

Just like Oxycontin, liquid injectable steroids are now bar-coded, meaning every ampule has its own ID.  It’s supposed to be an advanced security measure.

counterfeit steroids are dangerous

– If it’s genuine product, you’d see the ‘Lot Reference Number’ (LRN). 

Let’s say you were looking right now at an ampule of genuine product, you’d see its identification (lot reference number) laser printed onto the side, clear as crystal. The fake ampule will have a similar ID number, but it’s been applied using a silk-screening’ technique. It’s like it hasn’t had the ‘backdrop’ taken out.

Another tell-tale sign you’re holding a counterfeit product is when the information sheet is missing or poorly formatted.  It’s also worth checking the packaging exterior, as there can also be indications there. Look to see if the manufacturer has covered a plain box in stickers of various purposes. 

Genuine medicinal manufacturers will use custom-designed, laser printed product packaging. At the very least, their name, address and phone should be printed directly onto the box.

These days the identification, aka ID number, is tracked via it’s journey to the consumer. When a person takes their script to the chemist in Thailand, they will need to provide 100 points worth of identification in order to have the prescription filled.  The users name is then electronically matched to the package they are about to receive by the pharmacist, creating a record.

It places big responsibility on the pharmacist. Any lost stock can be attributed to them, and they would probably receive a knock on the door sometime.

An Industry in Repair

These days it’s a lot easier to spot a fake using the tips below coupled with common sense.


view of a black market lab

Steroid bust on the black market, Pakistan 2019.

It’s not as though the fakers got slack with packaging though, oh-no!. Big Pharma is fighting back hard. It understood 20 years ago that the anabolic steroid black market wasn’t just smashing their bottom line, their reputations were being whacked too. Both the public and the health authorities had Big Pharma in their cross hairs. The growing Black Market steroid trade was damaging the health of those engaged with it.

Not only serious cardiovascular harm, but the less obvious psychological damage though dependency.

Who’s feeding the trade? 

What we know is that Portugal, England, Belgium and Italy all produce black market Sustanon 250, which is sold in the USA. Overtaking them though all is Pakistan.  Production there of all pharmaceuticals has ramped-up in recent times, so it is expected they’ll be the biggest counterfeiter of Sustanon 250 (by Country) going forward.

The pharmaceutical Black Market, including trading of black market steroids, will never go away. 

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