Botulinum toxin (Botox) is a protein and neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is the most acutely toxic substance known, with an estimated human median lethal dose (LD-50) of 1.3-2.1 ng/kg intravenously or intramuscularly and 10-13ng/kg when inhaled. Botulinum toxin (BTX) can cause botulism, a serious and life-threatening illness in humans and animals. Three forms of botulinum toxin type A (Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) and one form of botulinum toxin type B (MyoBloc) are available commercially for various cosmetic and medical procedures.
Having said that, Botox is the most popular cosmetic treatment on the planet!
As with anything that is in great demand, ie. watches, handbags, clothes, shoes, there is always an element of counterfeit products. The same applies to Botox. So-called Botox can be bought online or through third parties from as far afield as China, Eastern Europe and even mainland Europe. The really scary part about this is, in the UK, with NO REGULATIONS IN PLACE, anybody can carry out Botox injections, WITHOUT ANY TRAINING OR FORMAL QUALIFICATION.
It is one thing buying counterfeit handbags, watches and shoes but getting injected with counterfeit Botox could result in disfiguration or worse!!!
One recent high-profile case involved a beautician from Scarborough, Jamie Winter, who was arrested in May 2012 and charged with fraud by false representation, having treated several people, claiming that she was a trained and qualified practitioner. It later transpired that she had purchased the botulinum toxin that she was using to treat people over the internet. One woman treated by her told police that she had suffered a reaction to the procedure, which had left her with swollen eyes. The court considered various assault charges, but these were later dropped as at the time her clients were perfectly happy for her to administer the drug. Ms Winter then pleaded guilty to five charges of fraud in October 2013.
Beware of Counterfeit Botox – is this a risk that you really want to take?
Allergan, the world’s No 1 Botox manufacturer, own the trademark “Botox®” and are continually trying to close down the illegal sales of counterfeit Botox. When Allergan seize counterfeit products, these are analysed and the really scary part is, one of the seizures of counterfeit Botox when tested proved to be 18 TIMES THE STRENGTH of the Botox available commercially for Botox treatments. It is not just the United Kingdom that has this huge problem – this article from Partnership for Safe Medicines highlights the problem in the USA. The US regulatory body, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), has warned medical practices about the dangers of purchasing drugs from unlicensed sources, warning that medication purchased from such suppliers “may be misbranded, adulterated, counterfeit, contaminated, improperly stored and transported, ineffective and/or unsafe”.
How do I ensure that I am being treated with a genuine Botox product?
With the huge profits that are available to the counterfeiters, this is not the easiest task. As with everything in life, if it looks too good to be true, in all probability it is. The first step is to look for registered medical facilities. These should ideally be registered with the Care Quality Commission. Ask for proof of purchase. At Good Skin Days, we buy our product direct from Allergan, it is stored at the correct temperature at our clinic and the prescriptions for the Nurse Prescribers and doctors are drawn down from this stock. Several pharmacies in the UK also dispense Botox and other manufacturers of botulinum toxin. There should be no reason why people cannot produce an invoice or receipt relating to that particular batch of product. Obviously, lots of mobile Nurse Prescribers and unqualified injectors are operating within hair salons, beauticians, gyms and in people’s homes. Whilst one would hope that the Nurse Prescribers are using genuine products, this cannot be guaranteed. Unqualified injectors technically should not be able to get hold of Botox as it is a prescription only drug. Irrespective of this, they still manage to get hold of products, whether genuine or counterfeit. TAKE CARE IN MAKING YOUR DECISION!
Ongoing medical support
At Good Skin Days, we pride ourselves on the level of service that we offer, which includes ongoing medical support. We are open seven days a week. All of our Nurse Prescribers and Doctors are fully qualified and the medical team is led by our Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Mr David Watt.
Good Skin Days is the largest genuine Botox clinic in the Leeds/Bradford area. We are very proud of this position and we are pleased to announce that the management team, led by Chris Gill, have been invited to visit Allergan’s global manufacturing facility in Westport, Ireland, in March. Every vial of Allergan’s Botox® used anywhere in the world, is manufactured by the same people, in the same place, at Westport.
We will be reporting back on the visit and what the future holds for Botox treatments following the latest industry news.
If you’d like specific advice on Botox injections, either as an anti-wrinkle treatment or to address excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), you can call us at our Leeds clinic on 01943 882010 or fill in the Call Me Back box in the menu bar above.
Should anti-wrinkle injections be kept for regulated medical providers only? Would you risk receiving treatment from a therapist who bought their Botox online? Drop us a comment below…