Beautician fined €6,000 over illegal Botox treatments

One customer suffered allergic reaction to injections administered at Dublin salon

A beautician has been fined €6,000 after a court heard she illegally performed Botox beauty treatments at her salon despite being warned she was breaking the law.

One person suffered an allergic reaction to the procedure, Judge John O’Neill was told today.

Viktoriya Bulankova, of Luttrellstown Place, Carpenterstown, Dublin 15, pleaded guilty to charges contrary to the Medicines Board Act.

The businesswoman, who is from Russia, faced 19 charges for unlawfully importing, advertising and administering the anti-wrinkle drug - which is usually injected into facial muscles and subject to prescription control.

She administered the treatment at her business, Visona Beauty, St Brigid’s Shopping Centre, in Blanchardstown, in Dublin.

Her prosecution came following an investigation by the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA), formerly known as Irish Medicines Board, which had court summons issued for her to appear at Dublin District Court.

Judge O’Neill noted that while the woman had some medical training in Russia, her qualifications were not recognised here. She had carried on providing the treatment despite warnings from a HPRA officer that she was not allowed to provide the prescription only treatment at her salon.

Solicitor Ronan O’Neill, for the HPRA, told the court that Botox had dangers and the offences occurred in May 2013, and May this year.

In evidence, HPRA enforcement officer Brenda Kirby told Judge O'Neill that on May 14th last year, she visited the Visona beauty salon and spoke to Bulankova in relation to her advertising the prescription only medicine Botox.

Bulankova admitted she had imported and “administered Botox on a number of clients over a period of time”. Six boxes of the product were detained. Ms Kirby also said that four individuals gave witness statements confirming they had received the treatment from Bulankova.

Exactly a year later Ms Kirby received another complaint that a woman had suffered an allergic reaction from a Botox injection she received from the accused. The following day Ms Kirby went to Bulankova’s home and took statement from her in which she admitted she had continued to import and administer Botox to a number of her clients despite her earlier warning.

Pleading for leniency, defence counsel Steven Dixon asked the judge to note that his client had co-operated with the HPRA investigation and paid their legal costs of €1,500.

He said Bulankova had trained in Russia where she had achieved a grade between nurse and doctor. She became an Irish citizen 14 years ago. The mother-of-one failed to get her qualifications recognised here and started working as a beauty consultant.

The barrister also asked the court to note that the woman’s business has suffered and she has to pay rent on her home and business premises.

Mr Dixon said she will never offer this procedure again, she was extremely apologetic and a conviction could damage her chances of becoming qualified in this area in Ireland.

However, the judge said her acts were dangerous and he had to record convictions. He imposed fines of €1,000 on six of the charges and stated that each must be paid within four months or she will be jailed for 21 days in default.

The remaining 13 connected charges to which she also pleaded guilty were taken into consideration.