News broken early this morning by the ABC has released startling evidence of black market cosmetic drugs being used in Australian clinics. Video footage shows officials seizing hundreds of contraband drugs from several locations during recent raids conducted by the New South Wales Health Department.
Items seized by authorities included non-approved topical anesthetics, dermal fillers, human placenta extract and medical-strength peels made in China and Japan.
NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard has stated that these products were not registered for Australian use and could be contaminated.
Reports also suggest that the quantity of the black market shipments attempting to cross our borders are steadily increasing in size. “These are not coming in in someone’s handbag.” says Bruce Battye, NSW Health’s deputy chief pharmacist, “These are coming in in bulk.”
Health authorities are warning Australians that they are risking their lives by getting cheap and illegal cosmetic procedures from ‘back-alley clinics’, with repercussions including disfigurement, burns, paralysis, blindness and even death.
In light of the events, Dr Mary Dingley, Board Member of the Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia says “The importance of seeing a registered health professional who focuses on cosmetic procedures cannot be stressed highly enough. Registrations and licences are there for a reason – to ensure that people and products meet standards and can be tracked and held accountable in the event of any concerns. Going to see those who flout regulations and deliberately skirt standards, usually because they can’t meet those standards, is just asking for trouble.”
Dr Dingley also explains that while complications can occur on rare occasions, the importance lies in the measures taken by practitioners to manage any adverse repercussions.
“Complications can occur, even in the best of hands, however if you go to those ‘best hands’ they will have procedures in place to manage those eventualities rather than ducking and running for cover, closing business or flying off overseas.
Cosmetic medicine is medicine – don’t trust your face and your life with anyone less than a registered doctor who focuses on this work all the time.”