Black Market Botox


Black Market Botox – By Lisa Jenks, MD

When you are walking down the street and you see a store that is selling Gucci handbags for $25 each, I am pretty sure that you are immediately aware those aren’t real Gucci items.  Well, you need to have the same thought process when you read an ad for ridiculously low-priced Botox.  Knock-offs or fake products may not be a big deal if you are talking about a purse, but they are a big deal when it comes to what is injected into your body.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of black market Botox being sold to consumers.  Two types of black market Botox have been identified.  Botox is legally manufactured in the US only by Allergan.   Botox made by Allergan is highly regulated, highly researched and is FDA approved.  The first type of black market Botox is made in the US by Allergan and exported for foreign use, then re-imported at a cheap price.  The problem is that you don’t know what happened to it while it was out of the country, especially what was done in order to make it so much cheaper.  The second type of black market Botox is not even Botox; just something made and sold as Botox.  

 It is important to realize that Botox is a drug and the injection of it is a medical procedure that has the risk of complications.  Using a product that is not the “real deal” greatly increases the risk of complications, including skin infections, abscesses, blindness, permanent disfiguring, respiratory arrest and even death (all of which have been reported with black market Botox).  

A good rule of thumb is that if it’s a cheap price, a non-medical injector or a funky label, you need to assume it’s not safe!  FDA approved Botox, manufactured by Allergan, is expensive to produce in the highest quality form.  It’s not possible that pure, real Botox can be sold at a super-cheap price.  In order to protect yourself, you should only get Botox from a facility where the injectors are MDs or where full-time MDs are available to supervise RN or PA injectors.   Physicians, PAs and RNs (with physician supervision) have spent years studying anatomy and physiology.  They not only are highly trained in how to inject Botox but also in how to handle any problems that might arise. 

A fake Gucci purse can be a fun way to save money.  Fake Botox is not.  

Article by
Colorado Springs Physician