Bogus Botox poisoning outbreak spreads to 9 states, CDC says

Ars Technica » Scientific Method 2024-04-16

A package of counterfeit Botox.

A package of counterfeit Botox. (credit: FDA)

At least 19 women across nine US states appear to have been poisoned by bogus injections of Botox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported late Monday.

Nine of the 19 cases—47 percent—were hospitalized and four—21 percent—were treated with botulinum anti-toxin. The CDC's alert and outbreak investigation follows reports in recent days of botulism-like illnesses linked to shady injections in Tennessee, where officials reported four cases, and Illinois, where there were two. The CDC now reports that the list of affected states also includes: Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, and Washington.

In a separate alert Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration said that "unsafe, counterfeit" versions of Botox had been found in several states, and the toxic fakes were administered by unlicensed or untrained people and/or in non-medical or unlicensed settings, such as homes or spas. The counterfeit products appeared to have come from an unlicensed source, generally raising the risks that they're "misbranded, adulterated, counterfeit, contaminated, improperly stored and transported, ineffective and/or unsafe," the FDA said.

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