Thousands of Black Market Botox Injections Seized by Federal Agents in Ohio

The seized injectable shipments would have had a combined value of $175,399.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection urges anyone who is interested in cosmetic injectables to seek out a licensed medical professional. - Photo: Gustavo Fring, Pexels
U.S. Customs and Border Protection urges anyone who is interested in cosmetic injectables to seek out a licensed medical professional.

As the desire for fuller lips and younger-looking skin swells in the US, so does the black market for injectable products.

According to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), two Cincinnati CBP officers seized thousands of unapproved cosmetic injectables such as Botox, Juvéderm, and more during the last week of April and first week of May.

The department said the shipments originated in Bulgaria, Spain, China, Hong Kong and Korea to be distributed throughout the United States. A single shipment of Botox from Hong Kong held 10 vials, or about 1,500 injections.

Cosmetic injectables are used to treat an array of health problems, but are most often used to treat aesthetic concerns such as smoothing wrinkles on the face and pumping up the size of a patient’s lips. A number of different injectable types were seized by CBP officers in Cincinnati, including:
  • Botox
  • Juvederm
  • Meditoxin
  • Radiessa
  • Dermalax
  • Neuramis
  • Restylane
  • Hutox
  • Sculptra
The value of all the seized injectable shipments would have had a combined value of $175,399, according to the release.

“Purchasing unapproved injectables, such as Botox, is a health and safety risk,” said Cincinnati Port director Richard Gillespie. “Cheaper is not always better, especially when it concerns your family’s health and welfare. The officers in Cincinnati diligently work to intercept illegal shipments and ensure safety to the American people.”

Assistant commissioner for import operations, Dan Solis, said the Food and Drug Administration is keeping a sharp eye on illegal injectables.

“The FDA is especially concerned about the illegal importation of injectable prescription medications, as these drugs may pose a significant risk to patients,” Solis said. “Like the drugs seized by our partners at CBP, there is no way to know whether these drugs were made under good manufacturing practice conditions, and sterility of these products are not always assured.”

The department urges anyone who is interested in cosmetic injectables to seek out a licensed medical professional who can assess the product and package quality and monitor patients for potential adverse effects. 

Originally published by CityBeat, Scene's sister paper in Cincinnati.

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