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Quick fix on the high street – concerns over Superdrug’s announcement to provide cosmetic medical procedures in store

Posted: 24/08/2018

Superdrug, a high street retailer, has announced that it will be making Botox and dermal filler procedures available in its stores to people aged over 25. The decision to offer these treatments comes after feedback from nearly 10,000 customers revealed a demand for anti-wrinkle and skin rejuvenation treatments on the high street. Surgeons (and personal injury lawyers alike) are understandably concerned that these treatments are being promoted as casual beauty services rather than medical procedures. 

The ‘Skin Renew Service’, which has launched in Superdrug's London Strand store before being rolled out nationwide, is available only following a phone booking and a consultation with a qualified nurse. The aesthetic treatments will then be administered by qualified nurse practitioners. Gerard Lambe, a spokesman from the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), said: "Administering an injection of any kind is a very serious procedure and requires an experienced and qualified health professional. All kinds of risks can arise, from infection to incorrectly applied needle placement over delicate facial muscles - which can lead to paralysis."

The practice of administering injectables has come under fire in recent years as it has been a notoriously unregulated industry. However, new, tighter regulations announced by the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) and the BAAPS last week have banned beauticians from joining the official register to carry out Botox and filler treatments. The JCCP opened a voluntary register in April 2018 for everyone trained to a high standard, but following a threatened boycott by doctors and nurses, it will now only include medically trained healthcare professionals. A Department of Health and Social Care official commented: "The Government takes the regulation of cosmetic procedures very seriously and we are currently exploring options to strengthen regulation."

Elise Bevan, a clinical negligence solicitor in the cosmetic surgery team at Penningtons Manches, said: “According to Superdrug, the sponsors of popular TV show Love Island, there has been a spike in the demand for Botox and fillers since contestants on the reality show boasted about having cosmetic procedures and the ‘Skin Renew Service’ is being offered in response to this. Superdrug says that the treatments will be administered by ‘highly qualified practitioners in private consulting rooms’, but this has done nothing to reassure surgeons who believe that offering these treatments in the same place you can buy toiletries and makeup is a recipe for disaster. 

“As personal injury lawyers dealing with claims involving complications from procedures such as these, we’re not too keen on the idea either. Treatments like Botox and fillers are medical procedures and although rare, the complications, such as blindness, can be significant. It is important that the treatment providers have the experience and skills to recognise and treat these problems when they arise. The surgeons we deal with on a regular basis tell us that they are seeing an increasing number of patients who have suffered complications following treatment offered cheaper elsewhere, and usually end up spending far more money to fix what has gone wrong. Our view is that normalising injectables, in the way that Superdrug is, so that it is considered the same as getting your hair and nails done, is a step too far.”

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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 419867.

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP