Cheap Botox - How low can it go?

Posted on the 03 February 2011 at 10:10

The following advertisement was recently spotted on the well known special offer site Groupon. It features a dentist led clinic in Wales offering Botox® for £40!

Groupon Advert - Botox in Cardiff Deal - Shocking
Groupon Advert - Botox in Cardiff Deal - Shocking

Aside from the loss –leading nature of this promotion in terms of pricing, the claim that recipients can “enjoy instantly younger looking skin” is unsupportable, as botulinum toxin injections simply don’t work that quickly, requiring up to a week for the toxin to take full effect on the treated areas.

Add to that the fact that this is a direct promotion of a prescription only medicine to the general public, something which the regulations governing the advertising of medicines in the UK forbids and this clinic is breaking so many rules of advertising as to be shocking.

It’s likely that this dental clinic has recently incorporated wrinkle treatments into their practice and clearly demonstrates an example of really how it shouldn’t be done, nothing about this advert or this promotion in general demonstrates best practice within the aesthetic industry.

If you’re tempted by this method of securing new patients for your business we would discourage you from doing so, you may get the one time, price conscious patients, but long term clients they will not be when you have to start charging them the real cost of the product and your time.

Even with a “if you can’t beat them join them” attitude it really is starting to be more a case of “how low can it go?” At this rate clinics will be paying people to come in for their Botox®!

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Blog Comment(s) [9]

REPORT THEM TO MHRA!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Actually....... don't ! They'll take such a loss that they'll prob go under soon anyway! Bear in mind that £20 of that £40 goes to Groupon who are the only winners.

Dr Ravi Jain |

Would agree with your comment Ravi - I just don't think this approach is valid in medical marketing, and also doesn't seem to make a lot of sense from a business perspective.

Ron Myers |

Couldn't agree more with the comments above. Groupon take at least half of the £40 plus card processing charges. Smiles Dental will only receive payment from Groupon upon receipt of used vouchers. Statistics show that clients who avail of such offers do not remain loyal and simply wait for another firm to offer a similar deal. This promotion will cost Smiles Dental unless they grossly restrict the units of Botulinum Toxin injected.
I note the offer quotes "A very small amount is injected with a very fine needle into your chosen facial area, ie. eyes, forehead or chin"
I wonder how many clients will opt for a forehead treatment and whether Smiles Dental will give them just that or advise them on the risk of drooping eyebrows unless they have their frown injected also.
"you will be able to resume your normal duties immediately after, in which you will be duly complemented on how young and great you look"
I don't think so!

Dr Vincent Kent

This is where the MHRA / GDC / GMC/ NMC should have a unified policy. Medical marketing is more than just undercutting your competitors. I notice they have carefully avoided the POM name of the botulinum toxin.

Mr M D Humzah

The Medicines (Advertising) Regulations 1994 - Prohibition of advertisements for medicinal products on prescription only

7. Subject to regulation 11 (Exception for approved vaccination campaigns), no person shall issue an advertisement which is likely to lead to the use of a relevant medicinal product which is a medicinal product for supply by prescription only and which is subject to any of the restrictions imposed by section 58(2) of the Act (Medicines Act 1968).

58. Medicinal products on prescription only.
(2)Subject to the following provisions of this section.
(a)no person shall sell by retail, or supply in circumstances corresponding to retail sale, a medicinal product of a description, or falling within a class, specified in an order under this section except in accordance with a prescription given by an appropriate practitioner; and.
(b)no person shall administer (otherwise than to himself) any such medicinal product unless he is an appropriate practitioner or a person acting in accordance with the directions of an appropriate practitioner.

In 2004, the ASA upheld a complaint against a West of England Laser Centres ad that used the term `muscle inhibitors` in the context of an injection treatment. Although the company did not mention Botox, the ASA decided that muscle inhibitors applied to an injection strongly implied Botox and it upheld the complaint. Special vigilance is needed when producing or accepting ads of that type. It is, however, possible to advertise injected treatments that are not POMs by using claims such as `treatments for lines and wrinkles`.

Lorna Jackson |

Perfect example of how to destroy your practice. I just hope that the dentist got duped into this deal and did not do it knowing the full facts!!! Coupons are for pizza, not professional medical services!

Dr Sanjay Gheyi |

Interesting to note from this US blog from the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine that this isn't just a UK phenomenon (not that we suspected as much).

And I quote:

`Is Groupon bad for MedSpa’s?
This MedSpa in Ft. Lauderdale sold 20 units of Botox for $79, after Groupon took their cut, the Medical spa ended up getting $1.97/unit for the Botox, that is a loss of $3.28/unit (not including the time to do a consult, gloves, needles and other operating expenses). This is exactly how NOT to use Groupon for a MediSpa!`

Lorna Jackson |

This topic is gathering pace both here in the UK and in the USA. This is an interesting blog on the American experience as published in the Orange County Register this week.

Lorna Jackson |

We need cheaper botox
You seen the doctor's car who injects my botox?...He's 26yo and driving too flash a car to be taken serously
Need to reduce the price of botox
And have older people injecting

Rip off botox