Fakes have been a problem ever since drugs, not just steroids, have been on the black market. Fortunately for us, steroids aren’t typically bought in raw form all rolled up in a little baggy. It is a little more difficult to duplicate a steroid and if you know what to look for, they aren’t really all that hard to spot. Probably the biggest problem is that since they are only available to the bodybuilder through the black market, there is no real guideline to go by when determining if a product is real or fake. It’s like if someone were to try to sell you a fake can of Pepsi, you would know that it was fake just by looking at it. You’ve seen it before; you know what it looks like. At the very least you would notice that the Pepsi looked funny. Not knowing what the ‘real stuff’ looks like is what fake dealers count on! And unless you see brand name steroids on a regular basis, you won’t be the wiser.
I think it’s important to understand the difference between a fake and a counterfeit too. Think of it in terms of money. You have counterfeit money it looks just like the real thing, and might even fool a change machine or two. But Fake money is a different story. You aren’t going to fool anyone with Monopoly money. Likewise Counterfeit drugs are meant to look like the real thing. Most of the time they are trying to sell a lot of them so they will put some active ingredients in them so the users get some effects from them and, even after taking them, they might think it was real. Fakes are drugs that aren’t real at all! They aren’t even meant to look like a legit product; they will have a different “generic” label on them. They will likely have NO real ingredients in them. It’s a one-time sell! And they are MUCH easier to spot. I say – stay away from both. If you are gonna do it, do it right. Don’t waste your time with half assed products because you are just wasting your time and money.
Don’t get me wrong though. From time to time, a steroid dealer will get a bright idea and decide to produce a designer drug – with his own mix or delivery system to try to get some lower margins and perhaps some recognition. But you should always realize that these types of drugs are typically very low quality. At the very best, the quality will go up and down. While you might get one great batch and have awesome results, the next batch could be complete junk!
With this in mind, here are some basic guidelines on how to detect fake/counterfeit steroids, even without having the real version sitting in front of you.
Since most of us don’t have access to a testing facility, we have to rely on our ability to notice a fake by the way it is packaged. Fortunately for us, some of the best manufacturers have taken some steps to limit the ability of their products to be knocked off. Using color gradients on the labels (blending from one color to another), using special hard-to-duplicate bottles, and some are even using holograms on their boxes and bottles. I recommend getting familiar with their websites before you seek to purchase their products. Most of them are in Spanish or some other language but if you click around you will certainly find pictures and can sometimes find batch and lot numbers as well.
Something about some pharmacy’s products though: You have to remember that these pharmaceutical companies like Brovel produce many other pharmaceutical products, not just steroids. The last time I was in Mexico, I saw a “pharmacist” sell a guy some Bursol (by Brovel), saying that it was a very effective anabolic steroid. And it wasn’t some miscommunication either! He could speak English very well . . . he just flat out lied to the guy! If you didn’t know already, Bursol is actually an anti-inflammatory product that just happens to have the same type of packaging as all the other Brovel products! My point is that you need to know what you are looking for before you go looking to get some. These guys will tell you anything for a buck!
Brovel: Brovel products are knocked off a lot. But the fakes, if you know how to spot them are an easy catch. Brovel uses a long gradual gradient from blue to white. If you look closely at the legit one, you will see that the gradient is very smooth and consistent. The gradient on the fakes I’ve seen isn’t done very well. You can really see the break in color along a gradient. They are pretty inconsistent with putting their hologram on their product so I’m hesitant to say that if it doesn’t have one its fake. But I am super leery of this. I personally wouldn’t purchase any without the hologram.
Denkall: Denkall uses various packages on their products so there is nothing I can tell you that is really consistent across the board. But they do a great job of making their packaging difficult to duplicate by using multiple gradients on one package going different directions. They also use a hologram on all their products.
Loeffler: Loffler uses a gradient on all of their products. Their gradient blends from yellow to white to yellow forming a white band all the way around the top third of the box or bottle. They also use a hologram sticker to seal their boxes. See the pictures in the back of the book.
Groupo Comercial Tarasco: GCT probably has the ‘easiest to counterfeit’ packaging there is. Very basic boxes and labels printed in 2-color on white boxes and labels. They don’t have any holograms but they do have rounded corners on the labels. This may sound like it’s not a big deal, but a little detail like this can save you from purchasing a counterfeit product.
Quality Vet: Quality Vet has a hologram on all of their products. They also have a batch number check on their website. This is the statement they have on their website. “Quality-Vet is aware of innumerable counterfeited products in the market. To guarantee that you are purchasing our products, please make sure of the presence of our security hologram and consult our batch and expiry date information.”
Tornel: Tornel products are blue, white and red. They are printed with a gradient that starts as blue at the top, then white in the middle, then red on the bottom. To my knowledge, they don’t have a hologram or any other way to decipher what is real and what isn’t.
Ttokkyo: Ttokkyo products are the ones with the head of the Saint Bernard on the front of their products. They’ve pulled out all the tricks in an effort to cut down the counterfeit market. They have put their company logo across the background of all their boxes, added holograms to the boxes and bottles, and they put “TTOKKYO” with raised lettering into the back of all their bottles and inside the bottle caps. However, I have seen some that are legit with the hologram and no raised letters, and some with raised letters and no hologram, so, I don’t think Ttokkyo has been very consistent with them. It’s pretty safe to say that if you have one or the other, you have a legit product. Oh, one more thing . . . they also shrink-wrap all their products.
Things To Look For In General:
Label: Using the same label on the box and the bottle is common for counterfeiters. I think there are some half way legit ‘underground’ labs that do this, but I wouldn’t trust that they have a very high quality product if they are cutting corners like this in their packaging.
Also, most fakes will not have very secure labels. Most real labs use labels that are like stickers. The glue is evenly spread across the back of the label and they stick real well. Most counterfeiters use older machines that actually glue the label on using a few lines of glue across the back. Although some legit products come like this, if it looks fake and you can pull the label off in one piece, you probably do have a fake.
Lot and Expiration Date: If you can get a list of valid Lot and EXP dates from the steroid manufacturers website before you purchase a product, do it! Although this isn’t a 100% sure way to tell its authenticity if you find a product that has a correct lot number (counterfeiters probably have the list too), you will know for sure if it doesn’t match. One thing you can look for specifically is if the lot number is printed or stamped on. Pharmaceutical companies all do it the same way. They have their labels and boxes printed in HUGE quantities and they actually bottle and package them in small runs called “Lot’s”. Each Lot will have its own specific ID number, along with an expiration date, stamped into it during the final stages of the production process.
Most Common Products: One thing you should always keep in mind is that the counterfeit market is just like any other business. It is driven by supply and demand. There is a higher demand for Winstrol, Deca, and injectable testosterones than any of the other steroids, and therefore, there are many more fakes of them on the black market. So be aware of this when shopping for your next cycle. The Winthrop Winstrol V is the “best” copy produced, and I’m sure is still selling like mad. It really looks real, but trust me, it’s not!
I didn’t profile every company because that would be a book all by itself. One important thing to remember is . . . if you don’t know, ASK! Go to FitnessBoard.NET and talk with your peers. Find out what to look for and find out what everyone else is using and how. And most importantly, learn from their experience – not your own!