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China sells banned Olympics drugs to UK

2008 Olympic stadium looks like a vagina


I'm not saying it does. But I'm also not saying it doesnt. Because it does. And I just said it.

Officials crackdown on steroids in China

 Beijing -- U.S. and international authorities are eying several Chinese firms distributing performance enhancing drugs over the Internet.

Beijing -- U.S. and international authorities are eying several Chinese firms distributing performance enhancing drugs over the Internet

Officials with the Chinese Food and Drug Administration say they are cracking down on companies accused of exporting performance enhancing drugs, such as steroids and human growth hormone, in response to pressure from the United States and international sporting officials, The Washington Post said Wednesday.

The issue emerges just eight months before the start of the summer Olympics in Beijing. There is confusion over FDA regulations that some say are vague and open to exploitation.

Chinese pharmaceutical companies may only distribute the drugs to licensed customers, but chemical factories that manufacture precursors and raw materials do not fall under that legislation, creating a loophole, the Post said.

A U.S. pharmaceutical company used Chinese raw materials to manufacture designer steroids used by athletes in the 2000 Summer Games and the 2003 track and field World Championship.

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Zheng Xiaoyu, the former head of China's food and drug administration, was recently convicted of taking bribes and approving drugs that were not tested, which officials say resulted in the deaths of a number of people. In America, that would get you tossed in a white-collar prison.

Not in China. He will receive the death penalty for his crimes. From the UK Telegraph:

Zheng was accused of dereliction of duty and accepting £430,000 in bribes and gifts to approve drug licences for hundreds of products, some of which turned out to be fake.

One antibiotic alone was responsible for 10 deaths.

If the sentence is upheld, he is most likely to be given a lethal injection, which has replaced the firing squad for most executions in Beijing.

Performance-enhancing drugs banned in Olympic sport are being produced and sold in large quantities in China, close to the sites where the Games will be staged this summer.

Human growth hormone (HGH), regarded as the drug of choice for athletes, poses the greatest threat to the Beijing Games being drug-free because it is difficult to detect unless tested for within 24 hours of being taken.

Marion Jones, the American athlete, winning the women’s 100 metres at the Sydney Olympics in 2000: China sells banned Olympics drugs to UK
Marion Jones was stripped of her Olympic medals
after she admitted injecting human growth hormone

Despite an attempt by the Chinese government to restrict its unlicensed manufacture, and a complete ban on its export, it took The Sunday Telegraph a little over a day to buy a week's supply - and then to find another company willing to dispatch much larger quantities to Britain.

China is the world's biggest manufacturer and supplier of anabolic steroids such as Stanozolol, and of HGH, which increases muscle growth, burns off body fat quickly and speeds up the healing of injuries.

Last year, Marion Jones, the American former Olympic gold medallist, became the most high-profile athlete to admit to injecting HGH when she pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators about her drug-taking activities.

Others, including a Chinese swimmer and her coach, caught red-handed at Sydney Airport in 1998, have been discovered with the drug in their possession. With the Olympics approaching, China's role as a major producer of HGH is under increased scrutiny.

"Any country that is seen to be producing designer steroids and other substances that enhance performance is a concern," said Andy Parkinson, of UK Sport's drug-free unit. "We don't want the worldwide trafficking of these substances."

In November, China's own food and drug watchdog, the SFDA, promised to stop export of the drugs, which are legal in China.


However, last week The Sunday Telegraph contacted MaMaCF Imp & Exp Co Ltd, which until recently operated from an office in a housing development called Olympic Gardens, near the site of the Olympic village in Beijing. The clampdown forced it to relocate late last year to Qingdao, a port in eastern China's Shandong province - the venue for the Olympic sailing regatta.

A company representative named Mr Sun said it was still in the business of supplying HGH to buyers around the world, despite the SFDA's ban. "It's no problem to send samples, or even big quantities to the UK by courier," he said. "We've done it many times. We have lots of clients in the UK and USA."

The hormone is a controlled drug in Britain and its import is restricted. But Mr Sun said: "You don't need to worry. UK customs aren't strict at all. We describe these items on the customs form as healthcare products. If they get seized, we'll refund you."

Mr Sun offered to sell his company's HGH at 140 yuan (£9.90) per vial, each vial containing enough for five doses.

"I'll give you a cheaper price when you place a big order," he said.

Like many HGH suppliers in China, MaMaCF sells a counterfeit version of Jintropin, the most popular HGH product in China.

"I guarantee it is good quality. If you don't believe me, just try a sample," Mr Sun said.

He had no qualms about supplying a drug that athletes could use to cheat in the Beijing Olympics.

"I can't control what happens to the HGH once it has passed UK customs," he said.

"It's up to the people who buy it to decide what they do with it. I know there are dealers in the UK who pass it on, but it's not my job to worry about athletes who use drugs."

Nor is there anything to prevent someone from travelling to China and buying the hormone to take home.

After telephoning an agent in Beijing, The Sunday Telegraph met a Mr Jiang, who arrived by bicycle with boxes of HGH vials. Made by a properly licensed company in southern China's Guangdong province, his HGH was genuine.

"I know of people who take a kilo of it overseas to sell, but I don't know where they go to," he said, before charging 1,000 yuan (£70) for 10 vials - about two ounces - of the hormone.

The SFDA watchdog refused an interview request to discuss its efforts to stop the illegal export of HGH and steroids.

Asked if athletes were using the hormone in Britain, Mr Parkinson said: "It would be naive to believe that British athletes are different from other athletes. A few might take this shortcut to success, particularly with the pressure of 2012 and the chance to compete in their home country."

Some Chinese companies also export anabolic steroids like Stanozolol, which boosts muscle growth and is similarly banned by sporting authorities. The Shanxi Quanxin Bio-Tech Co Ltd, in northern China's Shanxi province, agreed to send small quantities of the drug to Britain.

"If clients overseas ask us to send less than a kilo, we will do it. But if the steroids get seized by Chinese customs, we won't refund your money," said a Miss Zhang.

Some companies list their products as raw materials to avoid the Chinese official scrutiny. Others circumvent restrictions by selling their products to local buyers, who send them overseas illicitly.

"We can sell a kilo or less to an individual in China without informing the SFDA," said Miss Zhang. "It's not our business what the buyers then do with the steroids. We don't take any responsibility for that."

Last month, Sir Matthew Pinsent, four-time Olympic rowing gold medal winner, demonstrated for a television film how easy it was to buy the hormone in Britain and lamented the absence of an effective test for it.

"The present test on HGH fielded by the authorities will only detect it up to one day after injection," he wrote in a linked newspaper article.

"That's it. One day. To date, although the test has been in use since 2004, it has caught the sum total of zero. No one."

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