The banned “peptide” believed to have been injected into numerous Australian professional athletes can be bought in under 30 seconds online.

GHRP-6, the growth hormone-releasing peptide that features in the Australian Crime Commission’s report into organised crime and drugs in sport released this morning, was identified — alongside other so-called performance and image enhancing drugs (PIEDs) — as a dubious supplement threatening to cast a pall over the country’s professional codes.

Although unproven, GHRP-6 purportedly helps the body repair damaged tissue and can stimulate human growth hormones to improve athletic performance. It can be used in conjunction with anabolic steroids to promote muscle gain.

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Peptides are classified as a prohibited substance on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list and were banned for use both in and out of competition in 2008. The ACC report said most peptides are also:

“… listed under Schedule 7A Item 3 of the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulations 1956. Further, under Regulation 5 of these Regulations, Schedule 7A substances are classified as prohibited imports unless the importer has a permit to import issued by the TGA.”

However, using a credit card, Crikey was able to easily order a 5 milligram vial of GHRP-6 without a permit or a prescription from the US-based Peptide Labs for the the bargain-basement price of $US18.50 plus $US10 postage and handling. A disclaimer attached to the sale stresses the peptide is “not for human use” and is for “LABORATORY USE ONLY”.

At 99% purity, the peptide boasts “paramount attributes for experiments involving muscle synthesis and recovery”. Delivery is promised between 7-14 days after the payment is processed.

At least four other online operators — including the apparently Australian-based “The Research Clinic” — offer a cocktail of peptides and other supplements at the click of a mouse.

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Crikey is an independent Australian-owned and run outfit. It doesn’t enjoy the vast resources of the country’s main media organisations. We take seriously our responsibility to bear witness.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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