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.