The makers of long term volumising dermal filler brand Aquamid have taken a leaf out of the book of learning following the PIP breast implant scandal and have launched a formal patient safety register specifically for their product.
Contura UK insist that they have done this primarily for ethical reasons in terms of patient safeguarding as in doing so they have made it compulsory to be on the register of specialist UK practitioners and trained in the provision of Aquamid treatments before anyone can purchase, and thus administer the product. Records must then also be kept within the online patient register, which came into force in March 2012 and will overseen by an independent surgical advisory board.
Aquamid, a polyacrylamide gel based filler used for indications such as facial volumising, hand rejuvenation, correction of minor deformities and body contouring is only available through supply either direct from Contura UK or through pharmacy company Wigmore Medical Ltd.
With a smaller number of UK certified Aquamid users (including cosmetic surgeons, cosmetic doctors and registered nurses) it is in fact easy for the manufacturers to keep track of who is using their product; particularly when compared to more widely used hyaluronic acid based products where records would be almost impossible to audit due to the number of users and the complex supply chain, yet by its long term nature in line with an implant, such historical record keeping of Aquamid use is seen as far more appropriate than for a product which the body metabolises in less than a year.
Plastic Surgeons Mr Dalvi Humzah and Mr Chris Inglefield, who also provide the UK training in the use of Aquamid have advised Contura UK on the structure and functionality of the new Patient Safety Register which allows all registered practitioners to access patient history based upon unique patient ID information which is given to individual patients upon their first treatment via a handy credit card sized record. Detailed information about treatments (amount of product, placement etc.) and top-ups, as well as any adverse event reporting can also be tracked via the register.
According to Brian Whitley, Director of Contura UK Ltd, this scheme is also leading to better patient loyalty to the Aquamid brand and more importantly the combination of a list of approved users and a patient register has enabled them to investigate and disprove cases where patients have complained direct to Contura about a treatment with ‘Aquamid’ when in fact the practitioner has been passing off imported Chinese product as the genuine product to the patient. The records documenting the use of Aquamid meant that Contura were able to report the practitioner to the appropriate authorities for passing off a product as the genuine brand unbeknown to the receiving patient.
I believe that Contura UK are to be commended for what is a step in the right direction for responsible industry practice in terms of patient safety, which ought to be adopted for the tracking of a variety of products and devices used within everyday medical aesthetic practice in the UK.
In fact Mr Chris Inglefield agrees having said; "a formal register of all long term implants is needed to ensure that there is full traceability from surgeon back to manufacturer. There is no formal breast implant register in the UK and manufacturers and surgeons would be wise to work together to create one."
Who knows where Contura UK leads, others may follow. It all helps.
Find UK clinics offering Aquamid treatments.
Update September 2014: We have been informed that Contura's project for an Aquamid Patient Database/Register has sadly been dropped.