This is part 2 of the interview we took of Adrian Richards (Surgical Director of Aurora Clinics, and Founder of Cosmetic Courses) and Ron Myers (Director of the Consulting Room) discussing counterfeit toxins.


That’s a very interesting point you make Ron about Counterfeit Toxins, I know there was a report recently an article doing some research into how strong some of these counterfeit toxins were compared to the standard toxins that we use from the major companies, can you just tell me a little bit about the findings from the report Ron?
Well I think there are two areas there I think the main areas really with this, with toxins anyway is there are a number of approved distributors in other countries or suppliers so Meditance is one for instance which is a Korean toxin which is funnily enough being launched at IMCAS at the end of this month and that’s, I can find routes on the internet to buy that now.
So it’s a Botulinum Toxin?
Botulinum Toxin Type A yes so it’s constructed under different brand names in different countries and it’s the confusing element of this as well is the most common name.
It’s made by a proper pharmaceutical?
It is, it’s made by proper pharmaceutical companies someone would look at that and think fine well maybe you have a product here that is OK and it’s going to work and it’s going to be safe. I think the issue that you have here and certainly with regards to biological products, which is what Botulinum Toxin is, is that the manufacturers obviously have to get a license to promote them here in this country and there is also another route, a testing route for these products that used to be done for them by the national institute for biological standards of control and now I believe actually comes under the MHRA’s responsibility but basically where they will take batches of Botulinum Toxin produced by the manufacturers, and do separate tests to ensure that the numbers of units that you have in a vile are obviously compliant within a certain level. Clearly if there was a problem in manufacturing and you had say triple or quadruple the amount of toxin in a vile than you thought that could be a real issue and certainly when you’re using larger amounts maybe in children for cerebal palsy you can understand, so I think personally that we would only ever buy from approved manufacturers anyway and I think that it is principally because, both from insurance perspective and from a point of view of us as a clinic wanting to make sure we buy in the best products and absolutely do no harm.
Now Ron I believe that the Toxin is relatively easy to produce, but it’s slightly more difficult to actually get accurate units of how strong the toxin is because it needs really quite sophisticated measuring devices, so the problem is that companies can make toxin, but it may be stronger or weaker than other toxins. So I’m aware of this book that I think everyone on the aesthetics industry should at least look at or be aware of called ‘from beauty to botulism’ and in this case there was a doctor I believe in the states who had counterfeit Botulinum Toxin and treated both himself and a couple who were his friends and both of them had severe problems with respiratory paralysis having to be ventilated for a significant time following the treatment.
Yes there was it was a guy called Kaplan actually over in the states who I think had bought a toxin that had been badly manufactured on himself and some friends.
But I’ve heard he got it from his friend who was a vet
Obviously it was an unapproved source and there appeared to be more toxin in there than he thought and they ended up with systemic botulism.
As I understand it three people including himself were treated with this very high potency toxin and had to be ventilated on ITU.
Yes that’s correct.
So that just shows the dangers of unregulated toxins now so the Korean company with the toxin, that’s going to be launched soon.
It’s being launched in Europe, now whether that means the UK as well I’m not entirely sure and whether it has been approved by the MHRA or not and licensed it but we all currently have three toxins with different brand names as well from a cosmetic brand name to the NHS or medical brand name. The other area obviously the filler side of things that I think are probably more concerning I don’t know whether you saw botched bodies this week or not, but this is another programme that’s on channel 5 that’s been looking at ‘botched’ cosmetic surgery based on a woman who had a filler put in that created an infection, a permanent filler for years and in the end they just had to nick it and try and get this thing out.
They’re very difficult to get out
Very difficult to take out but some of those fillers are approved C marked, there are a number of products out there that come into that permanent filler category there not strictly speaking illegal.
But haven’t really been tested in huge amounts of people have they?
Well this is it, and as a concept I don’t like anything permanently put into somebody’s face that can be difficult to get out, in other words that’s not sealed around like an implants that your can’t discretely remove if there’s a problem and we’ve taken that as a clinic as a stance to say no hyaluronic acid is our main stay and we know we’ve got a trick up our sleeve there if there’s a problem with hyaluronidase.

Previous episodes in the series include:

Part 1 – The Keogh Report

Part 2 – Dermal Filler Regulations

Part 3 – PIP Implants

Part 5 – Counterfeit Toxins part 2

Part 6 – Hard selling

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