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.

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.

Peter Fray

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