BUAV pressure sees government admit responsibility of botox use in cosmetics


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The UK Home Office has stated that it does have a responsibility to make sure the end use of certain types of botox are not for cosmetic purposes following pressure from campaign group BUAV.

The government banned animal testing for cosmetics in 1997, however it is allowed if the intended use is for genuine medical purposes.

BUAV argues that most botox is used off-label for cosmetics and is available at numerous beauty clinics in the UK.

Furthermore, the campaign group investigated into the animal testing of Dysport (a type of botox made by Ipsen) at the UK contract facility, Wickham Laboratories. It found that Dysport, which is used as a cosmetic facial injection, was tested on mice using the Lethal Dose 50 (LD50) test.

Admitting responsibility

Initially, the Home Office strongly denied that it had any responsibility to ensure the botox is not actually used for cosmetics.

However, in a judicial review brought by BUAV, the Home Secretary, Theresa May, conceded that she does have the responsibility to make sure that the end use of the botox is not for cosmetic purposes.

In the High Court, May said that, amongst other things, she 'required licence holders to obtain and record information on the intended use of ​[botox]'​.

On this basis, Mr Justice Collins thought that the steps now taken by the Home Office with regard to the botox medicinal use limitation were reasonable and decided therefore that the case should not go further.

He said that BUAV acted reasonably in bringing it.


Wickham Laboratories is supposed to kill the mice as soon as it becomes obvious that they will die - to save them from at least some suffering - but a Home Office investigation (initiated following the BUAV's own investigation) found that 80-100 per cent of mice in the relevant groups were in fact dying from the botox.

The investigation found that Wickham was in breach of this and other licence conditions.

Michelle Thew, BUAV chief executive said: "We are pleased to have finally closed the loophole in the UK that has allowed this cruelty to happen. We are now pressing the Home Secretary to clarify exactly how she intends to enforce this."

Related topics Regulation & Safety Animal Testing

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