A women in California has been arrested after offering to inject counterfeit Botox and Juvederm to undercover police officers.
Vivian Espinoza was arrested at a pop-up medical office located in a downtown Los Angeles hotel after the sting. She was detained in possession of wrinkle treatments that on analysis were discovered to be counterfeit versions of botulinum toxin Botox and dermal filler Juvederm, which are both brands owned by AbbVie.
Detectives also confiscated polydioxanone (PDO) threading, needles, syringes and other materials that should only be possessed by licensed medical professionals. Espinoza was arrested for furnishing prescription drugs without a license and practicing medicine without a license.
Studies of counterfeit Botox samples typically find no evidence of the botulinum toxin ingredient, but in some cases vials have been discovered with up to five times the amount indicated on the label, perhaps diverted genuine product based on higher strengths usually used for medical applications such as spasticity.
Use of those could lead to overdose and potentially breathing difficulties, trouble swallowing and muscle weakness.
Of course, even counterfeits with no active ingredient represent a major risk to consumers of course, as they may contain toxic compounds or be contaminated with micro-organisms, raising the risk of serious allergic reactions or infections after injection.