Doctors ask for caution with aesthetic medicine

Staff writer, with CNA

Sun, Mar 02, 2014 - Page 3

Consumers of aesthetic medicine are being urged to request original product packaging before receiving aesthetic treatments to avoid illegal or counterfeit drugs.

With several clinics of aesthetic medicine investigated for alleged use of counterfeits, consumers are cautioned to be on alert when they encounter advertisements touting “US FDA approved” or “being used by Korean stars.

An aesthetic medicine group in Tainan has recently been charged with using prohibited drugs and tax evasion, with the prosecutors reportedly finding at least 247 boxes of unapproved hyaluronic acid injections and two illicit catabolic enzyme injections.

A plastic surgery clinic in Taipei is being investigated for allegedly using unapproved Clostridium botulinum, with the operator reportedly implicating an upstream supplier for providing the allegedly illicit treatments.

A pharmaceutical company selling legal C botulinum treatments said that most of the illicit drugs in Taiwan’s aesthetic medicine market are from China and South Korea.

According to the unnamed company, doctors independently bring back drugs from South Korea, diluting and repackaging them as approved medicines.

A woman surnamed Chen, a regular botox injection user, said she once experienced cheek inflammation after an injection.

Su Yi-chun (蘇宜君), a lawyer with Lee and Li law firm, said it is difficult to evaluate the damage caused by counterfeit or banned drugs in Taiwan unless the consumers keep the relevant evidence.

Although the fines to be imposed in these related cases are relatively heavy in Taiwan, the final rulings of judicial institutions, however, are light compared with the US, with many cases ending with settlements.

Taiwan Dermatological Association Chairman Yang Chih-hsun (楊志勛) said that the Ministry of Health and Welfare has approved just two kinds of botox.

Any drugs, even if they are approved in foreign countries that are not approved for entering the market by the health authority are counterfeit and prohibited drugs.