Fake Botox, FauxTox and Bogus Botox
There has been a lot of media attention recently about bogus Botox that has appeared in the United States. First of all, if you use a competent and honest doctor that only purchases their Botox from Allergan, then you have nothing to worry about. If you got your Botox treatment from a doctor in the United States who purchases Botox out of the country or from a distributor other than Allergan then you need to simply ask them to provide you the lot number of the vial from which you were injected. If your provider cannot answer this question then it raises serious questions. Fake Botox is nothing new and has shown up in this country and around the world for years.
Like Rolex watches and Louis Vuitton purses, Botox has and will be counterfeited. Counterfeit Botox can have several effects. If it is just water or watered down Botox, then either nothing will happen or a below average result will occur. If it is a preparation that has too much toxin than it can produce sickness or death. True, legal, authorized Botox is only available through Allergan or its official designates and they spend millions of dollars not only insuring a safe product and exacting dosage but also on validating legitimacy.
The biggest give away about the current fake product is (as mentioned) the absence of a Lot Number. All legitimate Botox has a lot number on the box and bottle (above figure). In addition the sealed Botox box has a double hologram protective seal. The actual bottle has a hologram on the label as well as a bar code and probably other secret identifiers. The fakes can be extremely accurate, but like counterfeit money, can be identified relatively easy. If you have or will have Botox injections, it is a totally fair question to ask your provider where they obtain their Botox and to see the lot number you will be receiving. Neurotoxins are very safe when regulated but can be deadly without control. It is illegal for any doctor to import drugs from outside the USA and many physicians have been investigated and or penalized by state medical boards for such activity.
Trying to save money is one thing, gambling with an illegitimate controlled substance with a potential to cause harm is an entirely different. I am proud to be a Diamond Level provider of Botox which puts me in the top 3% of all injectors in the USA and all my patients can rest assured that what they get at my office is one and only Allergan authorized Botox.
Joe Niamtu, III DMD
Cosmetic Facial Surgery