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Conviction for unlawful importation of cosmetic injectables following unpaid fines

15 December 2020

Following an investigation by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), part of the Department of Health, a woman from Melbourne has been convicted for the unlawful importation of cosmetic injectables under the Therapeutic Goods Act 1989.

On 9 December 2020, the Magistrates' Court of Victoria convicted the woman on three charges of unlawful importation of therapeutic goods. The Court also ordered the destruction of the goods seized by the TGA during the investigation.

Criminal prosecutions are an important enforcement tool the TGA can use to address serious non-compliance and in cases where infringement notices have not been paid. In addition to sanctions handed down by a court, a criminal conviction can have serious and far-reaching consequences. For example, a criminal record can cause difficulties with overseas travel, securing employment, renting housing and obtaining finance. The penalties imposed for any subsequent convictions are also likely to be harsher.

In this case, the woman was convicted for importing dermal filler medical devices (pre-filled syringes containing hyaluronic acid) and hyaluronidase (enzymes that can be used to dissolve dermal fillers), a therapeutic good for cosmetic use in humans. At the time of importation, the woman had not included the goods in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). Therapeutic goods must be entered in the ARTG before they can be lawfully imported into Australia, unless a specific exemption, approval or authority applies, which did not exist in this case.

Cosmetic injectables can come with serious risks

The use of cosmetic injectables that are not entered in the ARTG poses serious risks to consumers.

Cosmetic injections are medical procedures that change an aspect of your appearance (e.g. reducing the appearance of wrinkles or lines on your face). If used incorrectly, the substances in these injections could cause skin damage, blindness or even death. If you are considering cosmetic injections, carefully research both the products and the health practitioners involved.

The TGA takes action against unlawful activity

The regulatory scheme is critical to the safety of Australian consumers and the TGA investigates suspected illegal activity in relation to therapeutic goods. A range of compliance and enforcement tools are available and may include criminal or civil court proceedings, which can result in substantial penalties, fines or imprisonment.

If you suspect non-compliance, you can report illegal or questionable practices online to the TGA.