Beware Botox Bargains in Tough Economic Times
Coalition warns consumers about cosmetic injection discounts
November 17, 2008 - Bargains on consumer goods and services may be designed to encourage spending in tough economic times, however when related to cosmetic injections like Restylane, Juvederm or Botox, the multi-specialty Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety warns that discounts raise a red flag. "Bargain prices, deep discounts or purported sales on cosmetic injections are warning signs of potential counterfeit or illegally imported cosmetic injectables, or an injector who is inexperienced or does not specialize in the procedure," cautions facial plastic surgeon and Coalition spokesperson Mary Lynn Moran, MD of Woodside, CA. "Consumers must adopt a buyer-beware approach to offers that seem too good to be true."
Unlike common over-the-counter and prescription medications, cosmetic injectables do not have lower-priced generic alternatives. "FDA approved, branded cosmetic drugs or devices are sold to all physicians at defined prices," said Coalition leader, plastic surgeon Renato Saltz, MD of Salt Lake City, UT. "There are generic lower, priced brands, no sales for physicians who stock up on injectables and no bona-fide sources who sell genuine product at lower than market prices, and therefore there are no deep discounts physicians can pass along to consumers." Some injectable brands do, however, offer post-treatment rebates directly to the consumer. The Coalition warns consumers that deep discounts or savings can potentially risk:
- Counterfeit or illegally imported substances, resulting in potential health risk, injury or serious complications
- Illegally compounded and unbranded substances, resulting in potential health risk or injury, and unpredictable outcomes
- Diluted or improperly administered substance, potentially resulting in little or no outcome, a poor outcome, or a short duration for results obtained
- Bait and switch, or pressure to elect additional or unnecessary procedures
- Unqualified providers, lowering prices to create demand, and potentially risking poor or undesirable outcomes
Consumers can find average U.S. costs for cosmetic injections listed by U.S. FDA approved brand at http://www.injectablesafety.org/html/ataglance.php.
The Coalition, charged with educating consumers on safe choices in cosmetic injections and eradicating the use of counterfeit and illegally imported cosmetic injectables suggests all consumers follow very cautious steps for both safe, and positive outcomes:
- Doctor: Ask specifically about your doctor or injectors qualifications. Choose a doctor who specializes in treating all cosmetic concerns of the face, such as a board certified plastic surgeon, facial plastic surgeon, oculoplastic surgeon or dermatology and who examines you, prescribes and performs cosmetic injections in a licensed and properly equipped medical facility. Establish a positive and on-going relationship with your doctor and follow-up as directed. A nurse or physician's assistant may perform your injection if you elect, but a licensed physician must prescribe the treatment.
- Brand: Ask specifically the brand name of the injectable recommended for you, the approval status of regulatory agencies in the country where you will be treated (the U.S. FDA in the United States) and about any potential outcomes and the likelihood of adverse events. If your doctor does not offer, ask specifically to see the packaging and identifying marks that can verify authenticity, including the serial and lot number (which as a matter of proper procedure must be recorded in your medical chart). For reference, images of all U.S. FDA approved brand logos and packaging are available at. http://www.injectablesafety.org/html/ataglance.php.
- Safety: If you suspect your injector is not properly trained, is not following proper procedure or is injecting you with a non-branded, non-approved or unsafe substance, do not accept treatment. Follow-up by anonymously reporting suspected illegal activity to your local FDA field office that can be found at http://www.fda.gov/consumer/updates/oci072307.html.
To learn more about the benefits of cosmetic injections, the uses for approved cosmetic injectables, to plan for your treatment, see video of live, appropriately administered injectables and more visit http://www.injectablesafety.org and http://www.realself.com/injectable-safety-campaign.
The Physicians Coalition for Injectable Safety is an alliance of specialty physician organizations including the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, American Academy of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the International Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the Canadian Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. The mission of the Coalition is to provide the public with unbiased and necessary information on injectable cosmetic treatments, appropriate injectors and where to safely access cosmetic medical procedures. Our goal is to promote treatment supervised by properly qualified and trained, board-certified doctors and to promote only the use of U.S. FDA-approved, appropriately administered product. More information can be found at http://www.injectablesafety.org.