Doctors Receiving Shipments of Counterfeit Botox Just in Time for the Holidays

Illustration for article titled Doctors Receiving Shipments of Counterfeit Botox Just in Time for the Holidays

Uh-oh: The FDA has just made public a letter it sent to more than 350 medical practices last month, informing them that they may have received some bum Botox.

According to the AP, batches of Botox shipped by Canada Drugs were never approved by the FDA, and the agency can't vouch that those shipments of the injectables are safe.


The FDA said Canada Drugs was previously tied to shipping unapproved and counterfeit cancer drugs.

The agency warned doctors about buying drugs from sources other than licensed U.S. pharmacies. It is the fifth warning the agency has made this year about foreign suppliers providing unapproved drugs.


FIFTH warning? Yikes.

Why would a doctor or clinic even order from a random foreign company? The answer is simple: Money.

Drug shortages increased the financial incentives for some pharmacies to provide counterfeit or illegally imported drugs. The drugs subject to warnings have all been injectable treatments typically distributed through medical practices and not directly to patients.

The pharmacies want to get paid, so they fill the order, thinking, oh, just get it from Canada, it's the same thing. And maybe it is! Or maybe it isn't. The FDA can't say. The Canada Drugs website claims that the business is associated with the Canadian International Pharmacy Association and the Better Business Bureau. But in October, after the fake Avastin incident, US officials attempted to shut down the site many people use to get cheaper prescription drugs. And honestly, it's hard to tell if this is the FDA looking out for us or just blocking the import of drugs from Canada to keep the cash here in the US. Ugh. As if the state of health care in this country was not already a terrifying, confusing quagmire of mayhem.

[AP via ABC News]

Image via Iuliia Gusakova/Shutterstock.

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I think readers should keep in mind that Botox has applications beyond plastic surgery. It is also used to help relax spastic muscles in people with cerebral palsy. Getting counterfeit injections in these cases could have a real negative impact on someone's quality of life.