Primobolan not legally available in DR

Updated: February 20, 2009, 11:25 AM ET
By Yoel Adames | ESPNdeportes.com

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- According to the official in charge of the agency which regulates pharmaceutical drugs in the Dominican Republic, Primobolan was not available for legal purchase, over-the-counter or with a prescription in his country between 2001 and 2003.

Yuri Sucart
New York Daily NewsYuri Sucart would have had to tap the underground market to obtain Primobolan, a doctor told ESPNDeportes.com.

Dr. Pia Veras, who oversees the regulatory agency, told ESPNdeportes.com that Primobolan is known as "boli" in the streets of Dominican Republic, and was not legal for purchase during the aforementioned years.

"What Alex Rodriguez stated at the press conference [in Tampa] doesn't make sense," Veras said. "It is important for us to clarify that such substance has not been registered and is not currently registered for legal sale in Dominican pharmacies -- not now and the same applies for the years 2001 to 2003."

A representative of Rodriquez's disputed the accuracy of the ESPNDeportes.com report.

Veras allowed ESPNdeportes.com to check the official records of the agency, which oversees, monitors and tracks the pharmaceutical inventory that is legally sold in the Dominican Republic.

ESPNdeportes.com reached out to numerous pharmacies in locations such as La Romana, Santiago, San Pedro de Macoris, Bani and barrios like Juan Baron and Palenque. The result was identical: each pharmacy reported that the substance Primobolan is not available for legal purchase, over-the-counter or even with a prescription.

Contrary to Primobolan, testosterone is available as an over-the-counter steroid in Dominican pharmacies.

Rodriguez, who tested positive to Primobolan and testosterone, as reported by SI, said Tuesday at Yankees spring training that his cousin, Yuri Sucart, repeatedly injected him from 2001 to '03 with a mysterious substance from the Dominican Republic. Rodriguez explained that they bought the over-the-counter drug, which he termed "boli," from a pharmacy in the Dominican Republic.

"The same applies for the period of time [2001-03] as mentioned in Alex Rodriguez's confession," added Vera, who conducted an examination of official records in chronological order starting in the year 2000. "And we do keep track of every single product which means that no pharmacy can legally sell a substance if it's not properly registered here".

Dr. Milton Pinedo, president of the Dominican Federation of Sports Medicine, said that the substance Primobolan is available in the underground market of the Dominican Republic.

"No pharmacy carries this product; no pharmacy has this product as registered in its inventory," sadi Pinedo, who oversees the anti-doping testing of Dominican athletes at Olympic level prior to international competitions. "You can get this but you have to go to the underground market."

Another alternative is the Internet.

"A quick search will show that there's a huge market out there which means that you don't need to travel to the Dominican Republic to get this stuff -- you simply need a credit card," Pinedo added. "Legally, no one here sells Primobolan."

Yoel Adames is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.