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Smuggling unregistered Botox as big brands have left the country: Russians are increasingly suffering from the sanctions

Oleksandr LytvynNews
How sanctions have affected Russia
How sanctions have affected Russia. Source: Created with the help of AI

In Russia, the decision of major Western brands to withdraw from the market has led to a sharp increase in the share of smuggling of Botox, anesthetics, and biorevitalizers. As a result, Russians have become many times more likely to turn to doctors due to the consequences of poor-quality cosmetic procedures.

Kommersant writes about this. Thus, according to the consulting company Pravo na Zdorovye (The Right to Health), in 2023, more than half (55%) of the anesthetics used in Russia, as well as 42% of biorevitalizers, 20% of fillers, and 10% of botulinum toxins were unregistered.

"New forms of the gray market that were almost unheard of before, including counterfeiting of both fillers and permits for them, are now emerging" said Olga Goncharova, executive director of Pravo na Zdorovye. The total turnover of counterfeit drugs and medical devices in aesthetic medicine is 40% of the total market. By the end of 2024, this figure may increase by at least another 5%.

Experts attribute the growth of the illegal segment to the withdrawal of Western brands such as Allergan, Teoxane, and Laboratoire Vivacy from the Russian market, as well as insufficient regulation of the industry. In 2023, the volume of supplies of foreign fillers and biorevitalizers decreased by 21% compared to the previous year, says Nikolay Bespalov, RNC Pharma's Development Director.

The illegal segment is leading to an increase in the number of complications of "home cosmetology," after which victims seek treatment in clinics, says Yulia Frangulova, co-founder of the National Association of Clinics of Aesthetic Medicine SRO (NAKEM) and CEO of the Linline clinic chain. The number of such appeals in 2023 increased 2.7 times compared to 2022, she notes.

According to the analytical company DSM Group, in January-March of this year, the demand for Botox, which is used in cosmetology, increased sharply in Russia: in total, Russian pharmacies sold 11557 packages of botulinum toxin drugs during this period.

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