Are Cosmetic Injectables Parties Safe?

21 Nov Are Cosmetic Injectables Parties Safe?

In recent weeks I have been asked to comment on the increasing number of people undergoing wrinkle injections under questionable circumstances. Recent media attention has focused on injectables parties, where people hold an event in their homes and injectors attend to administer prescribed drugs such as muscle relaxants and dermal fillers. 

Concerns about these practices bring to light wider issues regarding the regulation of injectables and how much better informed the public needs to be about the laws and guidelines that are in place to protect them. 

Wrinkle injections such as muscle relaxants and dermal fillers are prescription drugs, regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). These regulations are in place to keep patients safe, but unfortunately they are sometimes flouted by injectors in search of providing quick, cheap injectables. 

WHAT IS THE CURRENT LAW ON INJECTABLES?

The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery and Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia have strict medical and ethical standards when it comes to injectables’ administration, and there are calls for even further reform. Artisan is a member of both the college and society, and is therefore held to extremely high standards of practice, which actually go above and beyond the laws set out by the TGA. 

As the law stands in Australia, nurses can administer wrinkle injections, but they must work under the supervision of a doctor. Injectors and clinics cannot advertise injectables using their product names, or any derivative or suggestion of their brand names or colloquial substitutes. But that doesn’t stop some dodgy injectors from doing so.

WHAT ARE THE CONCERNS AROUND ‘INJECTABLES PARTIES’?

Parties are not deemed to be an ethical way to administer TGA regulated drugs. People should be cautious about attending, or hosting a party. Ethics aside, the concept also raises serious medico legal questions; does the practitioner’s medical indemnity insurance and license protect them treating people in the home? The home owner should also investigate their own liability, to see if their insurance company would cover them should one of their guests have an adverse outcome. These are matters for a medico legal expert to discuss, but it certainly sounds like shaky ground. ‘Peer pressure’ and informed consent are also potential problems that need to be carefully considered. I’d especially be concerned if alcohol is being served at these events, and people are undergoing medical treatments while under the influence. That represents a serious breach of regulations, not to mention common sense! 

Those who attend Artisan know we don’t offer discount or ‘cheap and cheerful’ wrinkle injections. We are not about churning through the patients and making a quick buck. While there will always be people who prioritise saving a few dollars over recieving a high quality service, it’s about recognising the importance of undergoing a medical treatment, respecting your body and wanting the absolute best for it. 

HOW TO ENSURE YOU ARE RECEIVING THE BEST TREATMENT

While most clinics and injectors hold themselves to very high standards, there is currently a small number in Brisbane that openly flout the TGA regulations that are there to protect patients. We hear disapointing reports of a cheaper, less potent type of muscle relaxant deceptively being passed off as a different (more widely known) form of muscle relaxant’s brand name – while others promote give aways, discounting and competitions for these prescribed drugs, which is not acceptable practice for a prescribed injection (imagine a clinic offering discounted steroid injections or ‘prize draws’ for vaccinations!)  

Sadly, most patients are none the wiser, which is why I urge anyone having injectables to do their research.

I’ve had patients present to my clinic in the past who have gone the ‘cheap and cheerful’ route to having injectable treatments, and had very bad (sometimes permanent) outcomes. They can end up expending a lot of stress and additional expense having the treatments corrected. 

Whether you are having an injectable treatment in someone’s home, in your local shopping centre or at a clinic, it’s important for consumers to consider a few things:

1. Does the injector display their credentials, college registration and industry memberships that indicate they are held to a code of conduct and stringent training standards? All injectors must observe TGA regulations and the terms of their medical license registration, but membership to a college or society that imposes a high level of professional standards is optional, and some injectors or clinics opt to not join one of these, to avoid having to adhere to their strict codes of practice.   

2. Does the injector advertise their services by their product names? If your injector uses the injectables’ brand/product name in their advertising, or on the front of their clinic, they are contravening TGA laws and I’d question whether they should be entrusted with your face or health!

3. Does the injector advertise discounting and promotions of injectable drugs? Medical authorities consider this to be very poor practice and once again, if someone is injecting you with a scheduled drug, and changing the look of your face, you want them to be of the highest standards and adhere strictly to industry best practice.

4. When it comes to medical treatments, you pay for what you get.  

Injectables are extremely safe, effective and can make an incredibly positive impact on people’s self confidence, but they need to be done in the right environment, with informed consent by an experienced injector who strictly adheres to laws and best practice.

Read recent media coverage in the Courier Mail and listen to this 4BC interview with Dr Linda to find out more.