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Piracetam: The Nootropic Big Pharma Won’t Tell You About

19 February, 2014
Piracetam: The Nootropic Big Pharma Won't Tell You About - Nootelligence Blog

If you’ve been into nootropics for a while, chances are that you have noticed the strange gray area in the United States surrounding the sale of Piracetam – and all members of the Racetam family of nootropics, for that matter. So what is really going on here? How come you can not buy these smart drugs in stores on U.S. soil, but there remains an abundance of online retailers that are pushing the powders? Is Piracetam legal? In this post, we are going to take a closer look at this matter, and try to get to the bottom of these questions.

As many of you probably know, Piracetam has been considered the “first nootropic” ever since 1964, when scientists at the Belgian pharmaceutical company UCB first synthesized it. Dr. Corneliu E. Giurgea, who led the team of scientists, soon coined the term “nootropic” to describe Piracetam and other substances. The key difference however, between Piracetam and most of the other “nootropics” that this term went on to include is that Piracetam (and all future members of the Racetam family) are not naturally occurring substances. Nonetheless, UCB went on to launch Piracetam clinically under the name “Nootropil” in the early 1970s, and it is still currently in use under this name in many European countries.

Piracetam: The Nootropic Big Pharma Won't Tell You About - Nootelligence Blog

Piracetam remained unregulated in the United States for many years. That is until August 2010 when the FDA issued this letter; the first letter to a Piracetam supplier ordering them to stop selling it as a dietary supplement since it did not fit the legal definition of a dietary supplement. According to the FDA guidelines, in order to be considered a dietary supplement, a substance must either occur naturally, or be a derivative of a natural substance. Piracetam and the other Racetams do not fit this standard, as they are not found in nature and therefore cannot legally be sold for human consumption in the United States.

Piracetam: The Nootropic Big Pharma Won't Tell You About - Nootelligence BlogWhile many online retailers still carry these substances, most physical stores steer clear of selling any of them, as they are under much more scrutiny by the FDA. Many of these online retailers and manufacturers have continued to sell synthetics simply by not marketing them as dietary supplements; however, they still might run a risk. Technically, if there are “Supplement Facts” on a product’s package, then it is being sold for consumption and must meet the FDA guidelines. Some retailers simply refrain from including supplement facts, while others go as far as to disclaim that the product is not intended for human consumption, but that it is being sold for “Research Purposes Only.”

Here’s an excerpt from one of those websites:

“Warning:  These products are for research purposes only. These products are not for consumption unless otherwise stated. We hold no responsibility for any effects which occur with or due to the consumption of our products.”

There are still a number of online suppliers that disregard the FDA regulations and continue to market these synthetic nootropics as dietary supplements intended for human consumption. This is possibly due to the fact that, while it is illegal and the FDA may cite these companies, they often stop short of pursuing any costly legal battles. This makes sense when considered alongside the fact that some estimates show that up to 80% of all dietary supplements on the market in the United States are in violation of at least one FDA regulation. They can only chase after so many things, and until they get better at enforcing their guidelines, they will end up having to let many things slide.

Piracetam: The Nootropic Big Pharma Won't Tell You About - Nootelligence Blog

There is some speculation that the FDA crackdown on Piracetam in recent years has been in preparation for a move by U.S. Pharmaceutical companies to obtain exclusive rights to sell Piracetam, but there is not much evidence to support these claims. After all, in addition to falling short of “Dietary Supplement” status, the substance does not meet the FDAs current requirements for approval as a “Drug” either.

Piracetam: The Nootropic Big Pharma Won't Tell You About - Nootelligence BlogSo… stock up on your favorite Racetams while you still can, and keep your eyes and ears open for any updates on their legal status. While there is still insufficient evidence to jump to any conclusions as to what will come of these fugitive cognitive enhancers in the United States, there are four countries we know of where you can buy Piracetam (or “Nootropil”) without a prescription. They are: Belgium, China, Czech Republic, and Ukraine. If none of those countries sound appealing, luckily the list of nations selling Piracetam as a prescription drug is even bigger: Australia, Finland, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Now go plan your escape!

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