For the first time ever, an attempt has been made to monitor and control places that provide Botox treatments and “filler” injections. With 5,000 clinics performing approximately 200,000 Botox treatments for wrinkles and filler treatments designed to plump lips and sagging skin each year in the United Kingdom, the industry is in dire need of regulation. Although there are plenty of legitimate practitioners working in the industry, there are also far too many rogue practitioners administering treatments they are not qualified to give. To combat this, only doctors, dentists and nurses will be invited to participate in this attempt at regulation, along with organizations that provide Botox and filler injections. Once accepted, these practitioners will receive certificates of approval proving the quality and safety of their service.
The main problem with this proposed system is that it is voluntary. The charity Action Against Medical Accidents declared that if the Government does not make this system statutory, many people will be left at risk because an industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself properly – especially an industry that is as large and prosperous as the cosmetic industry. The Government requires any major cosmetic surgery to be regulated, but as Botox and filler injections are relatively minor non-surgical procedures, they can be offered by just about any business. Peter Walsh, the chief executive of Action Against Medical Accidents declares that his charity will continue “using our experience and influence to make this scheme as robust as it can be.”
One of the best reasons to create a regulated cosmetic industry is to help reduce the amount of botched cosmetic procedures. The most high profile examples of cosmetic treatments gone wrong are usually celebrities. For example, in 2003, Leslie Ash, the star of the television show Men Behaving Badly, had filler injections on her lips. The procedure went wrong, resulting in a look known as the “trout pout.” It is hard to determine exactly how many people have suffered from cosmetic treatments gone wrong or adverse side effects since many people are extremely embarrassed as to what has happened to them and would prefer to keep it quiet rather than raise a national ruckus. Also, without strict guidelines, many practitioners may turn to shady and dangerous treatments. For instance, in 2005, two government reports were published detailing how several practitioners supplying filler injections were using material from both animal and human corpses – material that could have been infected with hepatitis and other deadly diseases.