Biogen advises athletes not to use product found to contain banned steroid

09 July 2017 - 17:13 By Katharine Child
Image: Dischem

The manufacturers of Biogen‚ a supplement that markets itself as a sports brand‚ now says athletes should not use its over-the-counter sport products.

This after Biogen was found to contain testosterone‚ a steroid that is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency.

The SA Institute for Drug Free Sport said on Thursday that a doping control laboratory at the University of the Free State picked up various forms of banned testosterone in the product.

Biogen denied "Testoforte" had testosterone inside‚ but said it was sending samples to UK labs as a "precautionary measure".

Biogen's contamination was discovered by its ambassador‚ Angolan Demarte Pena‚ a mixed martial arts professor who was given the product for free by Biogen and who then tested positive for steroid use.

In South Africa‚ even school boy rugby players are tested for such banned steroids‚ meaning using this product could land a top teen rugby player in trouble.

But Biogen's defence is that athletes are not to use their general products‚ but only use their "Informed Choice" product range.

However‚ Biogen promotes itself as a sports brand with slogans such "muscle motivator"‚ "endless endurance" and "refreshing recovery".

The company sponsors cycle‚ race and mountain bike clubs in South Africa as well as former 2013 comrades winner Claude Moshiywa.

Biogen said: "The product in question‚ Testoforte‚ is not a sports supplement and does not form part of Biogen’s sports supplement range. It should be noted that this product is a complex herbal and is designed to support healthy‚ natural testosterone levels.

"We believe that all competitive athletes should only use Informed Sport and Informed Choice tested sports products and avoid complex botanicals. To this end we have made every effort to inform tested athletes of the potential risks when using complex botanicals via our website‚ on in-store signage as well as within warnings on product labels."

Dis-Chem‚ which stocks the product‚ said the herbal ingredients may have created traces of testosterone.