/ Health

Group deals: don’t be fooled by bargain Botox®

Scared woman having botox injection in forehead

A recent survey shows that 73% of Brits are concerned about having injectable cosmetic treatment from a provider who isn’t appropriately qualified. So why do so many people buy ‘blind’ from group buying sites?

The same YouGov poll also showed that this industry is growing. There are now an estimated one million cosmetic injectable treatments (such as Botox®) conducted in the UK each year.

With demand for treatments like these increasing, we’re concerned that buying treatments from group buying sites (like Groupon) is putting people at risk, and at the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS) we believe that many advertised deals are misleading or offering sub-standard aftercare.

Time for the ASA to step in

We’re concerned that group buying sites are misleading people into the belief that their daily deals are safe to purchase when we don’t believe they are. What’s more, we think these sites are failing to implement the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) standard of encouraging independent medical advice before people commit themselves to physically invasive treatments.

Considering that Botox® is a prescription-only medicine by a doctor, dentist or registered nurse following a thorough medical consultation we find the sale of such treatments on these sites shocking. To us, it’s wholly inappropriate that these sites require payment up front before the customer has been assessed by a qualified clinician – and we believe it’s putting their health at risk.

No one likes feeling put under pressure to make a purchase, and to encourage people to make their decision as the clock ticks forces a hasty choice without the recommended prior consultation.

The ASA standard states that advertisements for treatments should not offer discounts linked to a deadline date for booking appointments, or other date-linked incentives.

Aftercare should not be an afterthought

Would you expect a follow-up appointment to be included in the price of your cosmetic injectable treatment? If so, you’ll be disappointed if you purchase through group buying. Offers on these sites often cut costs (and could increase risk) by allowing providers to offer deals that don’t include the necessary aftercare.

Treatments You Can Trust is the government-backed register of doctors, dentists and registered nurses who meet the strict standards and training principles required to safely administer cosmetic injectable treatments.

All the providers listed meet the standards we, at the IHAS, have set for administering cosmetic injectable providers. For instance, one standard practice is a follow-up appointment two weeks after a treatment.

Here at the IHAS, we’re so concerned about the fact that offers on group buying sites don’t meet these same strict standards that we’ve been compelled to contact the ASA. We’re anticipating a response shortly – hopefully it will prompt action.

Have you had a problem with any cosmetic treatment – including injectable ones – following a deal on a site like Groupon and what measure did you take to resolve it, if any? Have you been concerned at any offers you’ve seen? And are you minded to steer clear of these offers?

Faizan Irshad says:
26 March 2015

There’s no such thing as bargain botox, not that works anyway. This is your face, your looks and your health so it’s essential that you entrust this in a qualified private GP who works in a reputable aesthetics clinic.

[This comment has been tweaked to align with our commenting guidelines. Please do not post promotional weblinks. Thanks, mods]

I appreciate that Botox has some specialist uses but perhaps cosmetic treatments are getting out of hand. What is wrong with growing old gracefully rather than pretending that you are young?

The worrying thing is that a lot of these treatments are being procured by the young. Some of them might cause a lifetime’s damage.

Until Botox treatment came along, I knew botulinum toxin as the most poisonous substance known to mankind and the dangers of its potential use in bioterrorism. It is a very valuable drug with specialist uses, but I do not understand why it has been licensed for general cosmetic use. It does not even offer a permanent benefit.

We have had a heated Conversation about inappropriate use of laser eye surgery and I would not be surprised if a future discussion focuses on the problems of Botox treatment.