Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Mullingar salon exposed using botox illegally

A Mullingar-based salon has been exposed as being involved in the illegal sale and administration of botox, something which a leading plastic surgeon professor has described as “absolutely shocking.” In an RTÉ Investigates documentary which aired on Monday, 4 March, footage showed the owner of Monarch Aesthetics on Dominick Street, Sandra Griskeviciute, prepared to illegally administer botox injections.

Ms Griskeviciute is not a registered doctor or dentist according to the film. She also illegally sold investigators two boxes of botox-type product ‘Botulax’ which is not licensed for use in Ireland.

“RTÉ Investigates: Botox & Beauty At Any Cost” unearthed a trend in individuals and businesses illegally handling, selling and administering botox-type products in Ireland.

Botox is a brand name of botulinum toxin which has become ubiquitous with the substance in cosmetics. Botulinum toxin is an injectable substance that temporarily reduces or eliminates wrinkles. It can only be prescribed and administered by doctors and dentists registered in Ireland. Registered nurses can also administer it under the direction of a doctor or dentist in certain circumstances.

An RTÉ investigator met Ms Griskeviciute at the salon as shown in the documentary. The investigator presented as someone looking for anti-wrinkle treatment. She said she was “a little bit nervous” about the procedure and asked how long it would take. Ms Griskeviciute replied that it would take two minutes.

Investigators found that Ms Griskeviciute was also selling botox-type products worldwide as advertised on her social media. Products advertised included labels reading “not intended for sale in the EU” and “for medical use only”. In one Instagram video she showed people how to mix a hyaluronidase product. This is a prescription-only product which is typically used to dissolve lip fillers.

By advertising prescription-only medicines to the public, Ms Griskeviciute is in breach of the Medicinal Products (Control of Advertising) Regulations 2007. She is also breaching regulations by selling products without a wholesaler’s authorisation from the Health Products Regulatory Authority.

Evading the law

A second RTÉ investigator entered Monarch posing as a hair salon owner. He said he wanted to enter the beauty industry and needed a botox product supplier. Ms Griskeviciute sold the investigator two bottles of Botulax for €180. Botulax is not licensed for use in Ireland.

Ms Griskeviciute told the investigator how she evades the law by changing labels on the products. The investigator explained that one of his would-be ‘workers’ would administer the product in his salon to which Ms Griskeviciute replied:

“So now everybody’s checking everywhere, okay? So if she is from Ireland she is probably not a doctor, yeah? So she cannot provide this treatment. So what we do: We take all the labels off, okay? When you have it in your salon, so you keep it like this.”

Ms Griskeviciute said authorities are checking throughout Ireland but added that “they didn’t get to check here”. She also said that she has had “a lot of clients who’s got caught”. Ms Griskeviciute told the investigator that a €10,000 fine is imposed on individuals who are caught. RTÉ Investigates sent Ms Griskeviciute a list of questions following their investigation but received no response.

‘Totally shocked’

President of the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeon, Professor Jack Kelly said he was “totally shocked” by what Ms Griskeviciute was doing.

“It’s absolutely shocking, what’s going on there. To be changing labels on a product and then bringing in products that are not even licensed for use in the country is beyond belief.”

Multiple offenders throughout Ireland were identified in the documentary. Along with Westmeath, individuals and businesses in Dublin, Clare, Carlow, Cork, Armagh and Limerick used botox illegally.

The documentary found an individual flying into Ireland one week a month to illegally administer botox to clients before travelling home. Another individual was identified offering botox injection from their bedroom without basic sterilisation. The investigation also discovered a UK-based supplier shipping unlicensed products into the Republic of Ireland.

Westmeath Topic made multiple attempts to contact Ms Griskeviciute on the morning of Tuesday, 5 March.

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