Investigators have found that dozens of doctors in the U.S. have bought an unapproved form of botulinum toxin being offered as an inexpensive substitute for the highly successful wrinkle treatment, Botox.
Botulinum toxin in its raw form, however, is one of the most powerful neurotoxins and can be extremely dangerous to anyone injected with it.
Unfortunately, investigators have found that some 1,000 people may have been injected with unapproved batches of the toxin.
In December 2004, news reports indicated that four people were paralyzed after being injected with a Botox knockoff sraight from a manufacturer.
Many experts regard the distribtion and use of unapproved botulinum as a very risky practice that can only result in serious injuries at some point even if no injuries have occurred to this point. Botulinum toxin that has not been approved for human use is a dangerous substance, more powerful than cyanide, and must be carefully regulated and monitored.
Next month, a trial is scheduled to start in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in which Toxin Research International (TRI) and its owners stand accused of selling the unapproved toxin and marketing it as a Botox sustitute. No one is known to ave been injured by the TRI toxin, however.
TRI is claimed to have told doctors that its product was as safe as Botox and that it was about to be approved. According to case documents, at least 180 doctors including plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and naturopaths ordered Botulinum Toxin Type A from TRI. A five-dose vial would cost $1,250 as compared to about $2,000 for actual Botox.