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August 20, 2010

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Home » Metro » Health and Science

Online Botox gets a health warning

CITY health authorities are warning local women not to buy Botox online to stem a worrying increase in sales to members of the public.

The Botox being offered by online sellers is much cheaper than that going to licensed clinics and hospitals, but fraught with danger, authorities said.

The online price for one Botox injection can be 500 yuan (US$73.6) or lower.

The cost for an injection of domestically made Botox at local hospitals and clinics is 1,000 to 2,000 yuan while imported injections cost up to 6,000 yuan each.

At least 82 stores are selling Botox injections on and one said it had sold 23 injections in the past 30 days.

But Botox is a prescribed medicine, which is banned from being sold online.

"All Botox injections sold at online stores are unlicensed. So they are not covered by official quality inspections," said Du Bing, an official with the Shanghai Food and Drug Administration.

"Only licensed hospitals and clinics have the right to buy Botox injections. Botox sold online can be fake or of low quality."

The FDA hadn't received complaints about the online products, but said people should go to licensed hospitals and clinics for their Botox injections as substandard injections or faulty use could cause side effects and harm such as facial paralysis. Misuse could even be life threatening, it said.

Some local hospitals said they had treated patients who had suffered facial stiffness and other problems after injecting Botox bought online or inviting friends to inject it for them.

But one online store owner defended his trade. "The cost for one Botox injection is only 200 to 900 yuan for both domestic and imported products," said owner Qingxiangmolihuacha9. "We usually get products directly from producers. So the products don't have stronger side effects as long as the consumers follow the instructions."

However, doctors say injecting Botox also needs professional skills and the material needs proper storage.

Dr Li Qingfeng, director of Shanghai No. 9 People's Hospital's plastic surgery department, said injecting Botox required specialist knowledge. Doctors consult people's medical history and carry out other checks before injections.

They also give directions on which drugs might cause adverse reactions if taken while the patient was being treated with Botox.


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