Sly Stallone on Human Growth Hormone charge

Sydney: Hollywood star Sylvester Stallone denied having restricted drugs shortly before 48 vials of human growth hormone were found in his luggage, a Sydney court has been told.

The vials of Jintropin were allegedly found in five boxes during a routine x-ray of the 60-year-old’s personal luggage when he arrived at Sydney airport on a Qantas flight from the US on February 16.

Jintropin is the brand name for a drug whose active ingredient, Somatropin, is a human growth hormone that can assist body builders.

Human growth hormone has also been linked to anti-ageing therapies.

Australian laws prohibit the import of natural and manufactured growth hormones without a permit.

Stallone, who left Australia on February 19 after promoting his new film Rocky Balboa, chose not to appear in Downing Centre Local Court on Tuesday where he was charged over the alleged importation.

Magistrate David Heilpern granted Stallone’s solicitor Robert Todd a six-week adjournment after being told the defence needed to gather more material.

Court documents allege Stallone circled the “no” box when asked on his incoming passenger card if he was bringing into Australia restricted or prohibited goods “such as medicines, steroids, firearms, weapons, or any kind of illicit drugs”.

Three days later, Stallone was handed a court attendance notice for the alleged offence of importing a prohibited import by Douglas Nicholl, the Australian Customs Service (ACS) director of investigations NSW.

That same day, customs officials reportedly raided Stallone’s room at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Sydney.

Court documents say the US drug regulator, the US Food and Drug Administration, has not approved Jintropin, and that the drug is not a recognised treatment for any medical condition.

“You have not been validly prescribed the goods by a medical practitioner for any medical condition suffered by you and for which the goods are recognised medical treatment,” the documents allege.

The maximum fine for the offence is $110,000, but if found guilty, Stallone would face a maximum financial penalty of $22,000 because the charge is being dealt with in a local court.

Stallone is required to enter a plea on the next scheduled date, April 24, but he is excused from attending court if legally represented.

Stallone has based much of his movie success on his physical appearance and prowess, and over the years has pursued bodybuilding, exercise and nutrition regimes, as well as marketing nutritional supplements.

His official website dedicates a section to exercise and nutrition but also includes a 1991 interview in which he is quoted as saying steroids merely make you “a cumbersome, ape-like goon”.