Spike in ‘Skinny Jabs’ Signals Risk in Unregulated Market

BABTAC
By BABTAC

BABTAC (The British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology) are Premier Beauty Membership Association & Insurance Providers.


With the January influx of gym offers hitting the market and promising consumers a more slimmed down version of themselves for 2024, it’s no wonder that searches for ‘weight loss’ and ‘diet’ are trending on Google. But worryingly, consumer searches for weight loss jabs and pens are also on the rise, despite the market being largely unregulated.

Skinny jabs pose a risk in unregulated market

December 2023 saw online searches for ‘semaglutide injection price’ increase by 140% and although we’re only two days into the new year, it seems that interest in weight loss injections is only growing. In the last 2 days alone searches for weight loss jab Wegovy (a brand of semiglutide) have spiked online.

Sadly, experts expect interest to increase further in January 2024 - although semiglutide injections can prove effective when used correctly and under careful medical guidance, there are concerns around implications for consumers trying to gain access without prescription who are looking for a fast route to weight loss.

According to the British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTAC), the industry is largely unregulated, meaning that at present, injections may be offered by non-medical professionals. A concern further highlighted by a recent report published by the MHRA, which brought attention to a surge of fake weight loss injections entering the market, which pose huge risk to public safety.

BABTAC chief executive and chair Lesley Blair MBE says: “As consumer interest has shifted to become more open-minded to non-surgical procedures and injectables, it’s easy to see why customers may become desensitised to treatments offered via injections. However, it is likely that they are not asking important questions, such as whether the individual is a medical professional, or even legally allowed to prescribe the drug. This, coupled with the reality that those seeking a weight loss drug may feel it is their only option, can expose potentially vulnerable clients to dangerous consequences.”

Blair continues, “with the lack of regulation currently governing this industry, it can be confusing for customers to navigate, though it is worth noting that the UK law currently states that any product containing semaglutide should be offered via prescription only. While it may be potentially cheaper, or you might feel like you are getting more privacy by obtaining the drug online or from a beauty practitioner, it is simply not worth the risk of self-injecting a drug that has the potential to be mixed with unknown ingredients.”

* According to Google Trends data captured across 90 days, search term “semiglutide price”  

** According to Google Trends data captured across 4 days, search term “Wegovy”

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