Fraudulent Botox discovered in US

Botox injectionThe US Food and Drug Administration has warned clinics to be wary of fraudulent versions of Allergan's wrinkle treatment Botox.

The spurious Botox is packaged in counterfeit cartons, and the product inside is a version of Botox - made overseas - that is not licensed for sale in the US. The FDA said that as far as it is aware the fakes have not been used to treat patients.

The fraudulent product is being sold by a company which trades under names such as "Online Botox Pharmacy", "" and Onlinebotox", says the agency, which notes that it cannot confirm that the drug is made in accordance with US standards.

Somewhat unusually, the company does not appear to have been selling the fake Botox online but has been relying on "blast faxes" to solicit sales directly from medical practices.

Allergan has been fighting counterfeiting of its Botox brand for some time, and scored a victory in its battle last summer when it worked alongside local police to seize quantities of fake product in China.

The FDA said the Botox version sold by Allergan displays the correct active ingredient name (onabotulinumtoxinA) on the outer carton and vial, while the fake version says the active ingredient is "Botulinum Toxin Type A". Also, the lot numbers and expiration dates on the outer carton and accompanying vial do not match.

"Medications purchased from foreign or unlicensed sources may be misbranded, adulterated, counterfeit, contaminated, improperly stored and transported, ineffective, and/or unsafe," said the FDA in a statement.

"Medical practices that purchase and administer illegal and unapproved medications from foreign sources are putting patients’ health at risk, as patients may not be getting proper treatment."

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