Clothing catalogue sale of Botox sparks concernsIt's one of the treatments offered by mail order

09 July 2007

Plastic surgeons expressed fears today over the 'frivolous' sale of Botox in a clothing catalogue.

Mail order catalogue Grattan enables shoppers to buy the treatments, pay over a number of weeks, and have their procedure at a clinic run by Transform, a cosmetic surgery firm.

Today, experts from the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) warned people about buying the non-surgical treatments, which include Botox, lip fillers, skin microdermabrasion and facial peels.

Douglas McGeorge, BAAPS president, said: 'It is essential the public understands that aesthetic procedures, even if they are non-surgical, are not commodities to buy off-the-shelf and cannot later be exchanged for a different style or size.

'Side effects from injectables may be rare but they do happen, and the latest warnings from manufacturers serve to highlight the need for proper consultation and thorough informed consent by the patient.'

Side effects

BAAPS pointed to a recent statement from Allergan, the makers of Botox, which said the toxin should only be administered by doctors and warned of side-effects in some patients with certain disorders.

Nigel Mercer, a consultant plastic surgeon with BAAPS, said: 'By its own nature, the choice of a catalogue defines these treatments as easy to purchase, even frivolous, undermining the seriousness of what is still a medical procedure, even if it's non-surgical.'

Transform and Grattan issued a joint statement.

Pat Dunion, operations director for Transform, said: 'Transform Cosmetic Surgery is proud to be the UK's number one surgical and non-surgical provider - we have over 30 years of experience and 175,000 satisfied patients.

Healthcare Commission

'Transform is regulated and audited by the Healthcare Commission and all our skilled and experienced non-surgical practitioners across our 22 clinics are either a qualified doctor, surgeon or a registered general nurse.

'The partnership with Grattan is an effective means of widening the non-surgical market.

'The clinical decision process for Grattan customers is the same for all our non-surgical patients, regardless of how they heard of Transform. All are fully informed about the procedures before they consent to proceed.

'It's worth noting that over 80 per cent of the non-surgical treatments we administer are a result of repeat business - reflecting our high customer satisfaction rate.

Formal regulation

'Transform is committed to high quality patient care and is currently leading the way, alongside industry partners, to push the current Government to introduce formal regulation of the non-surgical market in the UK.'

Which? principal policy advisor Frances Blunden said: 'We wait to see the full details but we are concerned that this is pushing Botox as something as easy as buying a new dress. But having any cosmetic treatment, including injections such as Botox, is a serious matter and needs careful thought.'

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