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According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is sending out a warning to physicians and their patients to beware of various versions of the drug Botox which are apparently counterfeit. The drugs were distributed by a “network of wholesalers controlled by Canada Drugs, an international supplier” whose companies have been linked previously to the distribution of some spurious cancer drugs. Early last year, the FDA warned physicians about a phony version of Avastin, the cancer medicine produced by Roche Holdings AG.

Canada Drugs is an Internet pharmacy which has succeeded in selling less expensive versions of medicines manufactured in foreign countries to American physicians and other customers. In the FDA’s book, what Canada Drugs does is considered illegal because whether the drugs are real or not, they are not FDA-approved, nor are they manufactured in FDA-inspected facilities. So far, the FDA has been unsuccessful in its attempt to close down Canada Drugs’ online store.

Meanwhile, Interpol, the international police organization, is now involved in a major crackdown on the sale and distribution of illicit medicines, with 27 drug companies cooperating and providing some funding for the effort. Patients receiving illicit medicines can incur serious harm, especially in the case of Botox, which is derived from the deadly Botulinum toxin and is to be used for cosmetic purposes, as well as for other medical conditions. Purveyors of phony Botox have received stiff prison sentences in the recent past.

With the number of spurious, contaminated, and just plain bad drugs reaching clinics and physicians this year, doctors and patients need to be extremely cautious about the origins of the medicines they are receiving. But is it not the FDA’s job to see that no one receives these drugs in the first place?


  1. Gravatar for Dr Rhys Branman
    Dr Rhys Branman

    Yes, this is completely scandalous in the United States! Remember, if the price is too good to be true, be skeptical. If injections are offered in a non medical setting, run, don't walk away! You can even ask your doctor to show you the package. Getting the best products is only one of the many reasons that choosing a board certified cosmetic surgeon for injectables is your best choice; he or she is not going to risk their license with fake Botox. Individual states govern who can legally administer Botox, in the United States. This means that although some states only allow licensed physicians to inject Botox, other states allow other health care practitioners to administer Botox. In Texas, Florida, New York, Oklahoma and Florida are examples of states that allow people other than doctors to give injections of Botox, however it must be done under the supervision of a doctor. What this means is if you do not know a is doctor on the premises of a medical spa, it probably is not a good idea to have injections there.

    Dr Rhys Branman

    Little Rock Cosmetic Surgery Center

  2. Gravatar for Greg Webb

    Thank you Dr. Branman. I agree with you. Go to good, qualified, board certified physicians who are qualified to perform these invasive procedures.

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