How to spot fake Botox, and why you should always check the vial: 7 On Your Side

Nina Pineda Image
Thursday, June 6, 2024
How to spot fake Botox, and why you should always check the vial
Nina Pineda has the story on fake Botox.

NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- Recently nearly two dozen people across 11 states suffered a variety of illnesses due to batches of fake Botox which found its way to the U.S. market.

People suffered disfigurement and paralysis, and many were even hospitalized after they couldn't breathe following the injections.

Imagine trying to take steps to fight wrinkles and you wind up fighting for your life instead.

Botox is expensive. Currently, it costs $656 for one vial.

So, if it's being offered for less, right off the bat that's a red flag it's not the real medicine.

Botox is a bacteria, a toxin, which has to be kept freeze-dried and handled carefully from the factory to the facility where it's injected.

"So the entire manufacturing process is heavily guarded," said Dr. Shwetambara Parakh, plastic surgeon.

Dr. Parakh, a board-certified plastic surgeon in Englewood, gets offers to buy discounted Botox often.

"We will get these emails from companies offshore from Canada or China so if you are an unlicensed provider or MedSpa and trying to save costs, how do you save costs? By buying cheap Botox," Dr. Parakh said. "If you're getting it from Groupon at $4 a unit, that cannot be real. This is an actual vial. There is a top seal and also a hologram, Allergan, that's a factor."

Ask your provider to show you the vial.

"As a consumer, it's okay for you to ask, 'Hey, can I see the bottle of the Botox if you don't mind,'" Dr. Parakh said.

Check to make sure its seal has not been torn or tampered with and look carefully at the packaging.

"In the U.S. you only get 100 unit vials. A lot of the fake ones, there is no 150 available in the U.S.," she said.

The FDA provided 7 On Your Side images of the fake Botox it seized.

The vial is missing the lot number. The outer carton does not have any entries next to the LOT: MFG: EXP:.

As the doctor explained, if it says like these Botulinum toxic type A, it's counterfeit.

Do not let your provider put this inside you.

The real Botox cartons will say Allergan and should read: onabotulinumtoxinA

The manufacturer will say Allergan Aesthetics and AbbVie Company.

For more tips on how to spot fake Botox, click here.

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