Chinese Botox - at $20 a vial, no wonder some doctors are tempted!

Posted on the 24 August 2010 at 11:49

Have you been emailed with an offer to buy cheap botulinum toxin type A direct from China? Well you’re not alone. We look at the growing market targeting Western Europe for sales of generic cosmetic injectable products at a fraction of the mainstream prices.

We’re used to seeing ‘Made in China’ on many of the products we now buy on our high streets. This economically emerging, communist country has long since been supplying the West with cheap commodity items produced for a fraction of the cost, from toys to electrical goods, kitchen wares to clothes, the list is endless, but would you ever consider buying medicines and medical devices from China?!

The pharmaceutical industry is a very profitable industry dominated by mega corporations with big budgets. Much money is spent by large, global firms on research and development into the compounds they can use on the human body to treat disease, alleviate symptoms and more recently offer the fountain of youth. It is this lengthy, scientific investigation which is often cited as the reason for the high prices and profit margins on the products that they ultimately sell to the marketplace.

The global boom in non-surgical medical aesthetic treatments using cosmetic injectable materials such as hyaluronic acid based dermal fillers and wrinkle busting botulinum toxins has led to a significant increase in the production and sale of generic products from China, destined for sale both locally within the Far East (e.g., Korea, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia etc.) but also to Europe and the USA via online ecommerce and active direct email marketing, in what can only be described as a darker shade of this very lucrative market.

Like many other medical aesthetic clinics up and down the country we received the following sales letter in our email inbox one morning. It said:

Hello, I get your information online and find that you are engaged in non-surgical cosmetic and aesthetic medical practice. I would like to introduce our company and products with hope to get a chance to establish business relationship with you in the future.

We can supply the botox in 100iu &150iu. It play good in contouring facial lift. Besides, we are also the manufacturer of hyaluronic acid filler. I have fillers in 10.000, 100.000, 200.000 particle in 1ml for fine line, medium and deep wrinkles. It also play good in nose augmentation, chin enhancement. We do not only have 20mg/ml fillers. We also have 25mg/ml one. And it do better for nose augmentation and chin enhancement.

We have factory and the plant is up to GMP standards. We take BDDE cross-linked technology from Germany.

At first time you can place a trial order to test and in this order we do not limit the minimum quantity. We will take DHL express to send you the goods and we have experience to deliver the goods. If you have more demand about our products, please let me know.

I am looking forward to your reply.
Qufu Haitao International Trading Co.,Ltd, China.

The letter concluded with a significant list of contact options which as well as an address, telephone (landline and mobile) and fax number also included an email address, as well as Skype, MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger accounts. Clearly this company wants to make it as easy as possible to secure a sale.

So, what did we do? We contacted them of course to find out just what they had to offer us as a UK practitioner.

As you can imagine, the response was very swift. We were almost immediately in receipt of a price list and pack shot images of the products themselves. No scientific or clinical data, CE mark certification or breakdown of ingredients was supplied however.

We were offered a generic botulinum toxin type A product with 150 units per vial, shockingly at only USD $20 per vial! At today’s exchange rate that equates to only £12.50, staggeringly cheap indeed. Yet, with no scientific information supplied and a pack shot of a vial with a basic label stuck to it, the contents are anyone’s guess.

More on their response, including product images for toxins and fillers, the shocking pricing and their customs avoiding shipping methods, all revealed in the September edition of The Consulting Room™ Gold Members newsletter.

Add Comment

To leave a comment you need to be logged in as a Cosmetic Community Member or a Clinic.

Please Click Here to login / register with the Cosmetic Community.

If you are a Clinic Click Here to login to the partners area of Consulting Room.

Blog Comment(s) [13]

I get these all the time, they still make me laugh.

Fab Equizi

I regularly get offers to buy cheap lasers, IPL and RF devices etc. Can now look forward to these too! My philosophy is simple, if I won't inject it in me, I won't inject it in anybody else.

Dr Sanjay Gheyi |

Hi is this stuff 100 percent

Susie maguire

I have ordered these products and used them on myself and they work the same as what you get at the doctors office for a fraction of the cost, the products come proffesionally rapped in Styrofoam with ice packs and arrive still frozen in about 48 hours, you are instucted to keep the unopened botox in the freezer shelf life of 2 years. It works identically to the name brand. 3i.u will nicely freeze each area for about 6 months, I have also used the fillers with no problems and just like at the doctors office by about 6 months to a year the filler goes away. there are many training videos youtube, that show you not only how to mix the botox but also to administer it yourself, if you watch the training veideos and mix it right, its very straight forward. In a Dermatologists office expect to pay a thousand pounds for filler and botox, I have paid this in the past, and when I do it myself my results are just as good for about 120 pound. If doctors want you to use them, my advice is lower your price because it's out of everyone's price range, and to people doing it themselves find a reputable dealer in china once you have tested their product and found it works, just keep using the same supplier, good look, remember you must learn how to mix the botox and watch the doctor training videos on youtube before you do this simple procedure on youself.


Thank you for your comments Phil. I have left the details of your experiences with DIY toxin and filler administration on our blog as it is informative. However, I must reiterate that despite the cost advantage this is not a recommended option that we would endorse to people. Not only is administering a drug on yourself potentially dangerous in terms of a lack of understanding of facial anatomy (nerves, blood vessels etc.) but also by buying unnamed, unbranded product online from overseas you are trusting that what you think is in the vial is actually what's there. This may not be the case and the make up of the ingredients or the potency and sterility may all be issues. We would recommend always visiting a medical professional who is using genuine, branded products for your aesthetic treatments. Many now offer finance solutions to help you spread the cost of treatments.

Lorna Jackson |

Quite surprised that Phil has actually admitted doing this, however, it is complete Russian Roulette. There is no method of tracking and substantiating what goes into these "products" and moreover there is the basic sterility and safety issue. Plus, botulinum treatments are now much more affordable, therefore purely finance-based arguments should be put to rest. Avoid at all costs.

Dr Sid Gautam

I've been using these products on my forehead and crows feet for years and the results are really impressive. Never got back to Allergan. It made me think that I was suppose to pay a lot of money to supply labs pockets and not for the product itself.


Do u sell botox and fillers

dr james

No we do not and we recommend only buying genuine, branded products direct from manufacturers, distributors or wholesale pharmacies. We do not advocate buying generic products from unknown sources over the internet. Please be cautious if approached to do so.

Lorna Jackson |

I buy the botox alternative from them and it is fantastic. I have been to doctors and NONE including a top plastic surgeon could fix my frown lines (I am one of those who needs a lot of toxin). I do it myself with much better results. Obviously because I am using more; doing more injection appropriate points and not doing a quick rushed job to make super money and top up if needed.Yes this may seem to good to be true but it is excellent. And really how easy is injecting this stuff if you follow the simple rules! Their service is excellent and prompt.

giselle wilding

Oh and after my criminal experiences with doctors I want to avoid them as much as possible. Obviously one needs to know basic anatomy etc. Just do your own study.

giselle wilding

Thank you for your comment Giselle. We would not recommend self-injection of products bought off the internet due to risks including the technique of injecting and product placement as well as the issue of not knowing exactly what is in the vial when products are sourced this way. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

Lorna Jackson |

Hello, I am qualified Dental Nurse and qualified as a Botox Administrator before the regulations changed some years ago. So now all my experience meant nothing as they have recently changed the regulations again over the last month to prevent nurses like me from carrying out treatment.
So what do you think is going to happen?? I have spent years providing good affordable treatments to my patients, many of them have been previously over Botox by who? oh yes that would be Doctors who have conducted in a day course and don't understand what the hell there doing but feel its OK to practice on patients!!! its just outrageous that they're untouchable all because they a title to there name. This obviously doesn't apply to every Doctor out there but my point is I practiced Botox on myself, friends and family for over a year until I felt I understood Botox enough to feel confident to give correct doses and provide great treatments, I saw my doctor practice on a patient the day after his course!!! (which resulted in bad treatment weeks before her wedding) The way the system is currently monitored is negligent and completely unfair. All my patients are devastated at the latest news but nurses will seek to find Botox from unsafe areas if they cannot buy it legally from the UK as this is primarily there income, which they have practiced and qualified in. If the product is deemed safe and offered at a much cheaper price then it's inevitability going to happen and the industry and councils are to blame so such be prepared to take responsibility for a situation in which they have provoked.

MS Hamilton