FDA warns of potentially dangerous, fake Botox in circulation

injectionThe most common imitated drugs for counterfeiters are still lifestyle drugs such as erectile dysfunction treatments like Viagra and Cialis. However, in recent times criminals have decided to attempt to branch out into more expensive treatments where the risks to patient health could be even greater than before.

Earlier this year, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed that a third batch of fake Avastin had managed to enter the supply chain, following two previous cases just months prior to this. Avastin is used to treat cancers of the brain, colon, kidney and lung.

Via an alert posted on The Food and Drug Administration website on Friday, the FDA have now warned of counterfeit versions of Botox that are being sold in U.S.

Botox has been known to be used by a number of aging celebrities to try and preserve their youthful looks, however in addition to its anti-wrinkle benefits, it can also be used to treat headaches, underarm sweating and an overactive bladder.

The disadvantages of Botox though are its highly expensive cost, uncomfortable needle injections and long-term abuse of Botox can cause atrophy of the muscles – particularly noticeable around the eyes.

The genuine Botox is produced by the pharmaceutical company Allergan Inc., with the fake version being found on websites ‘Online Botox Pharmacy’, ‘Onlinebotox.com’, and ‘Onlinebotox’, all originating from one company. Despite the suggestive nature in the names, the illegally operated company do not sell the product on the Internet. Instead they are sending ‘blast faxes’, aimed at medical professionals and stating that their ‘product’ is drastically cheaper than the official version.

The FDA’s statement on Friday explained that the outer box of the fake Botox is counterfeit, the bottle inside the box is foreign, and has not been given any kind of approval for sale in the U.S.

The danger of products such as this sourced from overseas companies is that they are usually not licensed to produce the product, it could be mislabelled, a poor quality, infective, dangerous to the consumer, manufactured in unhygienic conditions and improperly stored and transported.

In fact, Botox must be stored and distributed with specific care and certain standards, something the counterfeit versions will not adhere to and further creating a health risk. Back in 2004, four people were hospitalised in Florida, U.S. with poisoning after an unlicensed doctor had not used genuine Botox, but had injected them with a non-approved preparation of botulinum toxin that was meant for laboratory research purposes only.

The FDA said in their statement: “FDA cannot confirm that the manufacture, quality, storage, and handling of these products follow U.S. standards…Medical practices that purchase and administer illegal and unapproved medications from foreign sources are putting patients’ health at risk, as patients may not be getting proper treatment.”

In addition, the agency says that the fraudulent Botox products can be spotted as follows:

. The outer carton displays the active ingredient as “Botulinum Toxin Type A”; or

. The lot numbers and expiration dates on the outer carton and accompanying vial do not match.

It is also worth bearing in mind that Allergan Inc.’s FDA-approved Botox for injection (100 units/vial), states the active ingredient on the product as ‘OnabotulinumtoxinA’ on both the outer carton and the vial.

If you require an anti-wrinkle treatment and decide Botox is simply too expensive and not worth all the risks, why not head to Medical Specialists Pharmacy’s anti-wrinkle page.  At Medical Specialists we are committed to offering effective and clinically proven treatments to help improve the quality of your skin and have treatments for anti-ageing and wrinkles which you can obtain following an online consultation.

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