Reasons that Patients Should Choose US Botox Producers Over Foreign Competitors
It might seem a bit pessimistic to claim, but things that seem too good to be true often are. Patients should not trust botox being sold at dramatic discounts because their suppliers are often either fraudulent or found outside of the United States. Although it might seem a bit biased, the problem with foreign suppliers is that their operations see less oversight. Considering how serious the consequences can be, patients should err on the side of caution even if that proves to be the more expensive option.
An example from 2004 illustrates the potential consequences. In 2004, four people became unable to move due to serious cases of botulism poisoning. Upon FDA investigation, it turned out that their plastic surgeon had injected them with an unapproved form of botox sold for use in research. In time, FDA agents traced the sales to a California-based lab that had been selling the unapproved botox to plastic surgeons as a cheaper alternative to the approved form of botox.
How Botox is Regulated in the United States
On December 19, 2012, the FDA cautioned hundreds of medical practices that they may have received unapproved forms of botox from Canada. As demonstrated in the previous example, the problem with unapproved forms of botox is that the FDA has not confirmed through double-blind clinical trials that their use on humans is safe. Even if Health Canada has approved the botox, it does not mean that the FDA will do the same because of their differing standards. Furthermore, the FDA has serious problems overseeing botox produced in even foreign countries as close as Canada. Its agents often find it difficult to confirm that the botox was produced using safe methods, that it was stored under the right conditions, and that it has not been contaminated through improper handling during its transportation. These problems are compounded if the Canadian supplier is deliberately selling bad botox over the border to make it more difficult for the authorities to hunt them down.
At present, the FDA is fighting against the influx of botox from foreign suppliers by discouraging US-based plastic surgeons from purchasing them. Plastic surgeons are considered responsible for ensuring that the botox used in their practices is approved, free of contamination, and stored under the right conditions.
How Can Patients Avoid Unreliable Botox
Here are some tips that patients can use to reduce their chances of coming across unreliable chemicals:
Patients should be prepared to question their plastic surgeons about their credentials. It is not enough to see the certificate hung up in the plastic surgeons’ offices. Patients should confirm that the certification is real by checking with either the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.
On a similar note, patients should also be prepared to question plastic surgeons about the source of their botox. If the botox turns out to have originated in a foreign country, patients should be prepared to question their plastic surgeons about procedures in place to ensure that the botox has not been either diluted or contaminated during its production, storage, and transportation.
Getting first- and second-hand opinions provides important clues about the plastic surgeon’s reliability. Patients can consult their state medical boards to find out about past disciplinary actions. Similarly, consulting primary care physicians can be helpful because they have access to more information.
As a general guideline, patients should remain skeptical about offers that seem too good to be true. Beware of plastic surgeons who seem too eager to push their services, particularly those who make extravagant promises and fail to address patient concerns.
Patients should put the same care and consideration into researching their plastic surgeries that they put into other big decisions. Failing to take the proper precautions regarding plastic surgeries is even more dangerous than usual because it risks the patient’s finances and heath.
Jamie Tilford is a medical assistant. She loves writing on women’s health topics. If you’re considering botox injections, visit the website of Murphy Plastic Surgery for more information.