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Doctors Breaking The Toxin Rules

Botox is a brand of prescription-only product. So how come your local beautician is selling it?

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Do you know that Botox is actually just a brand of prescription medicine? Having wrinkle relaxing injections without seeing someone who is qualified to ensure you should be having those injections, is the same as going to your bank manager and asking them to give you antidepressants. Yet this is exactly what is happening.

What are the laws on who can administer wrinkle relaxing treatments?

Due to a lack of regulation anyone - a beautician, a bricklayer, a baker - can legally perform wrinkle relaxing treatments, so long as a qualified doctor, nurse or prescriber performs a consultation before the treatment to ensure the patient is suitable for treatment. Guidelines state that this consultation MUST always be face-to-face and should involve a physical examination of the skin and muscles underneath the skin. Prescription-only medicines are prescription-only for a reason, they have side effects, they have potency and you can only take them if they won't interfere with other medications you take. A prescriber will be adequately trained in how medicines interreact and understand medical conditions. Once a qualified prescriber has conducted a consultation, they can then give a prescription for the wrinkle relaxing medicine, for the injector to use. The prescription must be for that person only.

Why is there a problem?

Glowday has seen countless examples of wrinkle relaxing medicines being sold online to beauticians and lay people from abroad and previously warned about unscrupulous prescribers. Now, a Sunday Times undercover investigation has exposed the issue and revealed doctors, nurses and other qualified prescribers are running a lucrative sideline prescribing these drugs remotely, despite medical guidelines requiring them to see patients face to face. That's right, there are hundreds of medics offering to prescribe wrinkle relaxing drugs to patients, hundreds of miles away without ever seeing them in person. They are signing off prescriptions to patients without even speaking to the person. This is despite Stephen Powis, the national medical director of the NHS, saying the health service was “crystal clear” that medics must see patients in person before issuing botulinum toxin prescriptions. In the Sunday Times article, he warns of the risk of “serious infections” and “permanent scarring” if procedures go wrong.

The fact that medics are enabling non-medics to provide medical treatments is disappointing, worrying and further evidence the Government is simply not doing enough to protect people.

We spoke to Luisa who had wrinkle relaxing treatments from the person who microbladed her eyebrows, there was no consultation with a prescriber and Luisa has no idea where the medicine was purchased.

Why are medically-qualified people doing this?

Money. It's a lucrative side-line for them. For £20-£40 a time they can produce a quick prescription with minimum involvement. If a medic isn't actually administering the injection themselves, they are supposed to be responsible for ensuring the person (who is usually a beautician) is competent to give injections safely. But The Sunday Times investigation found 'prescribers offering to bypass the rules and describing how they regularly sign off the drug with minimal — or no — checks.' During the investigation, The Sunday Times found doctors and nurses advertising their services on apps regularly used by non-medics to find prescribers.

So medics are acting inappropriately?

Unfortunately yes and sadly it's tarnishing the entire aesthetics medical industry, which we so violently advocate for. Glowday has also, through its own research, found numerous medics who will happily train non-medics in Botox and lip fillers which also has a negative impact on the non-surgical aesthetics industry. Not only does it proliferate the market with inexperienced injectors, it drives down prices across the industry which devalues the experience, skills and expertise required to carry out these treatments. It also drives customers to seek cheap deals and has contributed to the belief that wrinkle relaxing and lip fillers are beauty treatments.

Do all medics do this?

Absolutely not and make no mistake, the majority do operate within the guidelines and are also astonished, angry and frustrated that their fellow medics are bypassing guidelines and acting inappropriately. Indeed, if Glowday is made aware that any of the medically-qualified practitioners listed on Glowday are prescribing for non-medics or involved in the training of non-medics, they are removed from our platform immediately. It's paramount we protect the integrity and reputation of the medics on Glowday who are striving every day to keep patients safe!

What else could be done?

We don't believe that non-medics should be administering the injections, period. We believe non-surgical aesthetics should be regulated so that only medically-qualified people can offer these treatments. As demonstrated by The Sunday Times, not all medics are beyond reproach, but on the whole medics are always going to be safer, more experienced and better qualified to offer non-surgical aesthetics.

How can I make sure I have safe Botox?

Firstly find someone on Glowday. Most of our practitioners are also qualified prescribers and will always conduct a thorough consultation before any treatments. Practitioners who aren't prescribers, are also required to provide their prescribers' credentials, that we verify.

If you see a beautician for your wrinkle relaxing treatments and there is no face-to-face consultation with a qualified prescriber before your treatment, you are putting yourself at a huge risk and Glowday strongly advises you to reconsider.

Find a safe, medically-qualified practitioner on Glowday here.

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