Australians hosting so-called Botox parties involving alcohol and using illegally procured anti-wrinkle injectable products could soon find their fun fizzling out.
The Cosmetic Physicians College of Australasia (CPCA) is calling for the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to investigate claims made in a story published by News Corp last week and, further, to implement CPCA’s teleconsulting policies.
The News Corp article references two separate parties; one in which the products used were procured from overseas providers, meaning they were procured illegally. Partygoers were alleged to be under the influence of drinks and drugs, meaning informed consent was null and void, and there would have been no aftercare provided.
The second group allegedly were given a consultation with a GP based in India via conference call. Unless the GP is registered in Australia, such an act is illegal.
“It is difficult to imagine a more dangerous set of circumstances for the administration of this procedure – a seemingly unqualified person, providing illegally-procured treatments, in an unhygienic setting, all whilst people may be intoxicated,” said CPCA spokesperson Dr Cath Porter.
“Cosmetic medicine is a three dimensional skill, requiring a full and detailed one-on-one consultation by a medical practitioner who possesses suitable expertise in patient psychology, as well as medical conditions and comorbidity, which can effect patient management.
“This is a fine example of why the College has been pushing the MBA to implement our policy.
“We believe that these issues would not be commonplace if the policies were in place and enforced by the MBA and AHPRA.
“The restrictions we place on members on the use of teleconsulting really must be applied to all practitioners, including nurses, to protect patient safety, in particular, that the signing off doctor must have cosmetic qualifications.
“It really begs the questions, was the doctor in question registered to practice in Australia, let alone [was he/she] a cosmetic doctor?”
The limitations placed on teleconsulting for cosmetic purposes by the CPCA are as follows:
- The medical practitioner doing the teleconsultation must work in the field of cosmetic medicine at least part-time and is a member of a cosmetic medical college or society.
- The teleconsulting medical practitioner has met the treating nurse in person and has a professional relationship with any nurse he/she delegates to and is satisfied that the nurse has adequate training and experience in cosmetic injectables to perform the specific treatments
- The medical practitioner doing the teleconsultation accepts responsibility for the outcome where the person performing the treatment is not a medical practitioner
- The patient must have an annual review either face to face or via a teleconsultation with a doctor who meets the criteria stipulated in the first dot-point and who accepts responsibility for the subsequent treatments until further review
- The person performing the teleconsultation must be available themselves, or through a suitably-trained medical practitioner locum, to offer immediate advice and support to the remote practitioner in the case of an emergency or where the practitioner needs further guidance
- The person performing the treatment must have in their possession hyaluronidase [an injetable solution containing a family of enzymes that degrade hyaluronic acid that comprises dermal fillers] to use in the event of arterial embolism plus an emergency medical kit to deal with acute allergic reactions and the skill to use them.
Further to the issue of teleconsulting, the CPCA believes that there needs to be amendments made to the advertising of Schedule 4 medications [such as Botox and HA dermal fillers] and their application.
“The Medicines and Medical Devices Regulation currently prohibits the advertising of any S4 medications including, for example, mentioning those medications by either generic or trade name on the website or brochures of a medical practitioner like botulinium toxin,” says Dr Porter.
“This means that cosmetic physicians are unable to communicate on their website, in their brochures or in their signage the fact that they are fully qualified, skilled and experienced to provide procedures with specific S4 medications, such as botulinum toxin, used to treat wrinkles. Perversely, non-doctors are left to advertise with impunity.
“Unfortunately, these media reports reflect feedback from our members who often are called upon to remediate the effects of such dodgy practices.
“It is clearly a matter of public safety, formal investigation is necessary and punishment needs to be applied to act as a deterrent, otherwise the problem will only get worse.”
Research released by the CPCA in May this year found that one in 10 Australians admitted to having their last non-surgical cosmetic treatment performed in a home setting, rather than a doctor’s clinic – double the number from 2015.
To find a qualified doctor with a focus on cosmetic medicine visit the CPCA website.
The CPCA represents the largest body of doctors who perform non- or minimally-invasive cosmetic medical treatments in Australia.