by Anthony Roberts
It is with some degree of sadness that I’m forced to report that Primordial Performance is shutting their doors and boarding up their windows following a visit from the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigation. While America at large is unlikely to recall the name of the agent responsible for this bust, steroid aficionados and supplement industry stalwarts will immediately recognize (read: despise) the name…
Novitszky is the former IRS agent turned steroid crusader that brought down BALCO, but crashed and burned in many of his subsequent attempts to bring various professional athletes to “justice” (whatever that is). I’ve been tracking this story for awhile, and spoken to the owner of the company, but figured I’d wait until he made an official public announcement before I weighed in.
If you don’t know who or what Primordial Performance was, they were an online company that specialized primarily in hormonal products. I was actually introduced to the owner of the company through a mutual friend before he launched his products, and have always found him to be a good dude; when various rumours have flown around the industry about me, he’s always taken it upon himself to actually speak to me and see if there was any truth to them. From my personal experience he’s a straight-up guy.
Are his products DSHEA compliant? The FDA has enough money to say that they aren’t, and my own personal opinion isn’t of much relevance in the issue – nor is his. So for the moment, I’ll leave that question alone.
Having back-burner’d the legality issue, I’ll venture into more theoretical territory and say that I don’t feel like Eric (the owner of Primordial Performance) has done anything “wrong” (whatever that is). Primordial Performance existed as an online entity that sold their wares entirely (one could justifiably believe) to an adult client base: some of their products fetched a $200/bottle price tag, weren’t sold at brick and mortar stores, and given the web-based nature of their purchase point, were highly unlikely to be attractive to a younger clientele.
There are certainly a dozen or so companies I’d rather have seen visited by the FDA, at least half of which I think deserve to be put out of business. There are also scores of other companies selling products that are arguably dangerous and far more non-compliant (companies, I’d add, that are run by men that the industry could do without).
So what’s the problem, and what happened? Presently there are some sealed documents in this case, so I don’t want to speculate on the root of this FDA action, but I’d be willing to bet (especially having studied Novitszky’s M.O. for the past several years), there’s more to this bust than we know.
Certainly the online advertising used for PP’s products didn’t do them any favors in the eyes of the FDA: liberal use of chemical diagrams, references to various anabolics, and the invocation of words (“andro” for example) that are generally taboo for anyone wanting to stay below the radar. Let’s not forget that many of the biggest companies in the dietary supplement market (at least in sports supplements) made their fortunes off the back of an easily exploited “bubble” in the industry (yes, like the .com bubble or the housing market bubble), and that bubble was prohormones (and later DMAA).
Perhaps it was some of the overzealous delivery methods (topicals, liquids and measuring syringes, pharmaceutical-looking gelcaps) that caught the FDA’s eye and made them assume that this was a company making money hand over fist, and not $300,000 in debt.
In the end, I feel that Primordial Performance (whether their products are “good” or not, and regardless of whether their products are “compliant” or otherwise) is not on my personal list of companies the FDA should be investigating and causing to shutter their windows. I believe singling this company out, when a Google search will turn up a hundred more, doesn’t make any sense. Laws need to be applied to everyone, equally, not just the people who stumble into federal crosshairs.
Eric’s a good guy, and could potentially remain in the industry (who knows?), as we’ve seen formulators and company owners commit greater transgressions and remain. But for now, Primordial Performance is gone, and although some might say that’s a good thing, I’m not one of them.
About the Author:
Anthony Roberts holds a BA in both English and Philosophy, is the author of Anabolic Steroids: Ultimate Research Guide and Beyond Steroids, and is a staff writer for Muscle Evolution and a contributor to Muscle Insider. He’s a certified trainer and coach as well as having worked as a formulator in the nutritional industry. He is a member in good standing of the Society for Professional Journalists.