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Injectables Report: Beware of Fraud
Written by Dr Sachit Shah   

Who is injecting what into your face?

woman's face with an injectable being applied

For licensed physicians in BC who have been doing injectable treatments (Botox and injectable fillers) for some years, it is no surprise to see that there are many cases of fraud involving injectable treatments. The CBC highlighted this in February 2012, in a special report about persons who were not licensed physicians who were giving injectable treatments using dubious materials that were not directly obtained from the manufacturer.

The College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC can regulate physicians that perform Botox treatments; however, no one is regulating any other profession or persons administering these treatments. Consumers must be aware of this, and must follow some general guidelines in order to ensure their safety with these procedures. It is important to note that Botox is classified as a drug and, as such, Health Canada has strict rules that Botox should be prescribed and administered only by a physician. To use it in any other way would be considered a contravention of the Food and Drugs Act. Any person offering Botox or injectable fillers should meet the following five criteria.

1. Licensing

You will often hear that only Board Certified Physicians should inject Botox or injectables. In Canada, that means only physicians registered with the College of Physicians and Surgeons are entitled to perform injections. Your first step should be to look at the College of Physicians and Surgeons’ website and check whether the person you want to see is a licensed physician in BC.

2. Experience

Your choice of physician should depend on how long the physician has been doing injectables and cosmetic treatments. If a physician is serious about cosmetic treatments, then he or she will have invested time and money in equipment and training in order to provide cosmetic services, and not just have injectables as an add-on to their regular practices. What makes a good injector? Someone with a good understanding of human anatomy and a great sense of aesthetics, who puts safety first. Of course, the more experience, the better. In plastic surgeons’ and dermatologists’ offices, you will often find nurse injectors as opposed to the doctor themselves doing the treatments. If it is important to you that a doctor perform the treatment, then be sure to ask who will be doing the treatment, and go by your comfort level. Nurses cannot inject without a physician’s orders, so if you visit a facility where you have never seen a physician, then be sure to ask if there is a medical director and when he or she is in the office.

3. Procedures

Any physician who is serious about Botox and injectable treatments should use a complete informed consent procedure and take photographs prior to treatment with Botox. If you go to a spa and you are hanging off a pedicure chair while being injected, then I would seriously question the credentials and ethical behavior of the individual injecting. It is all too easy to see that many women want to get a “quick fix” while at the spa, but the consequences can be disastrous, and you may not be able to get that injector to fix the problem once the damage is done. Instead, go to a dedicated facility where you know you can be seen again if there is a problem. Even the best injectors will sometimes get complications; it is how they deal with complications that should matter most to you as a consumer.

4. Price and Product

If you are receiving Botox injections at prices that seem very cheap or too good to be true, then there is a good possibility that corners are being cut in your treatment. Ask to look at the packaging of the product you are receiving, whether it is Botox (which comes in a holographic bottle) or injectable fillers. If the clinician objects, you might consider that a red flag.

5. Advanced Injectables

Injectable treatments using hyaluronic acid fillers such as Juvéderm and Restylane tend to be used by most physicians. Experienced physician injectors may offer advanced fillers such as Sculptra or Radiesse, which are also collagen builders. There are only five physicians in BC currently able to offer Sculptra treatments. Dentists, who are able to give Botox injections as part of their dental treatment plan, are not licensed to provide filler injections. If you are looking for treatments that combine Botox and fillers to give you a “soft lift,” then be sure to see a physician who offers these treatments.

I will leave you with the thought that the bitterness of poor quality lasts much longer than the sweetness of low price. Be sure to do your homework prior to getting any treatments, and be sure that whomever you choose regards these procedures as medical treatments and takes appropriate care with your face.

Dr Sachit Shah -

Dr Sachit Shah is a Family Physician with a special interest in cosmetic medicine. He has a Diploma in Dermatology and has a large cosmetic clinic in Surrey, BC with more than 20 medical esthetic devices to help you age the way you want to.


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