The Caribbean is getting slammed today about PED suspicions. In line with that, the New York Daily News reports the HGH can be scored in the DR, perhaps easier scored there than in the USA.
Hardcore steroids aren't the only drugs easily obtainable in the Dominican Republic. Human growth hormone - baseball's scarlet letter - is available on the black market in Santo Domingo, in Dominican supplement shops and even in the island's pharmacies.
Sometimes even without a prescription.
Baseball banned HGH before the 2005 season, but does not test players for the substance as there continues to be debate on the reliability of an HGH blood test. The league's current drug testing program uses urine samples only, and HGH cannot be detected in urine. Doping experts believe HGH use among athletes, particularly baseball players, has increased in recent years since a reliable HGH test has yet to be adopted in all sports.
Interest in the Dominican increased when A-Rod said his cousin smuggled in some Primobolan for the slugger's use. HGH may also be scored in the DR:
Most steroids are legal in the Dominican, and last week a Daily News reporter was able to buy testosterone enanthate, a syringe and the oral steroid Dianabol at a pharmacy there without a prescription.
Human growth hormone is only legal in the Dominican Republic with a prescription, according to Milton Pinedo, the president of the Dominican Federation of Sports Medicine and a member of the Dominican Olympic Committee.
"By law, you need a prescription to obtain growth hormone here," Pinedo told the Daily News Thursday. "But a lot of the time you can get it without a prescription."
Pinedo said that he did not think HGH use in the Dominican was as big a problem as steroid use.
Several Dominican pharmacies contacted by The News Thursday, including the chain Farmax, said they do not sell HGH. One Farmax employee said HGH can be bought at health clinics with a doctor's prescription, and that HGH is generally prescribed for "extreme medical conditions," such as AIDS wasting.
But two other Dominican sources said HGH is easily accessible - in bodegas where milk, rice and food are also sold, or in supplement stores that sell a wide variety of performance-enhancing drugs. One source said that walking into any Dominican gym will yield whatever drug an individual desires.
HGH is not cheap, however. A bodybuilder who sold a News reporter a 10-cc vial of Primobolan last week in Santo Domingo - the same steroid that A-Rod tested positive for in 2003 and that he allegedly used during 2001-03 - said that a supply of HGH would run 20,000 pesos, or $571. That amount is good for five injections. The 10-cc vial of Primobolan - good for two injections in a week - costs approximately $95.