Remote Prescriptions for Botox Banned
There is no such thing as a standard Botox treatment. Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, today said: “We recognise that patients can benefit from communicating with their doctor by email, phone, video-link or fax and that is fine – as long as it is done safely – but our new guidance makes clear that doctors must now not prescribe medicines such as Botox remotely.
These are not trivial interventions, and there are good reasons why products such as Botox are prescription only. We are clear that doctors should assess any patient in person before issuing a prescription of this kind. So, while remote prescribing may be the right answer in many situations, this is not one of them”.
Anyone having any sort of treatment would think it strange that the nurse, beautician or practitioner has to have approval from a doctor down the phone before proceeding. Every face is different and needs careful assessment of the way the muscles move and the balance of the facial expression if treatments are to give optimal results. Understanding a client´s wishes and what they are trying to achieve is also important. The only way this can be achieved is by a face-to-face consultation so we do not condone the practice of remote prescribing.
It´s great news for all patients that at last the GMC has taken action to stop remote prescribing of Botox for cosmetic use. This has been an abuse of the regulations purely for commercial gain. Face-to-face consultation with the doctor provides reassurance and opportunity to ask questions. At the same time, the doctor is able to fully assess the needs and requirements, which would be impossible down the phone. This builds trust and confidence for the patient, and they understand they are dealing with the main person and not an intermediary. The guidance, which will be issued to every doctor in the UK, states: “You must undertake a physical examination of patients before prescribing non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products such as Botox, Dysport or Vistabel, or other injectable cosmetic medicines. You must not therefore, prescribe these medicines by telephone, fax, video-link, or online.”
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, added: “The Patients Association welcomes all guidance that strengthens rights and helps inform choice. Face-to-face appointments give patients the most appropriate opportunity to question clinicians directly about their care. Doctors must encourage a partnership approach, ensuring that patients are equal partners in their care and the decisions made about it.”
A copy of the new remote prescribing guidance can be read on the GMC´s website:www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/13594.asp
Dr Patrick Bowler