Monday, December 22, 2008

THE FIX YOUR FACE CRIME RING: Feds continue to roll up annoying de-wrinkle network

"Patients of a West Hollywood dermatologist became unwitting guinea pigs for an experimental drug when the doctor began secretly injecting them with an unapproved substitute for Botox, federal authorities allege," reported the Los Angeles Times last week.

"Dr. David Cary Hansen was indicted Wednesday by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles in connection with an alleged scheme to treat patients with an experimental form of the popular wrinkle reducer that was labeled 'Not for Human Use.' The substitute drug has been found to cause botulism when given in high doses, prosecutors said."

This case marks another in a series of indictments arising from the arrest, convictions of Chad Livdahl and Zara Karim of Toxins Research International, an Arizona company which was a front for the duo's effort to undercut Allergan's botox business in the US.

Botulinum toxin A is on the US select agent list. As the most toxic protein complex known to man, it is of potential use in bioterrorism. Because of that, labs which make it must be in the US government's select agent control regime. But the toxin also has application in medicine, most popularly in botox de-wrinkling treatments.

The pharmaceutical company Allergan has the only FDA-approved license to manufacture botulinum type A for drug use in the cosmetic industry.

However, there is no exclusivity on the production of the toxin.

Four years ago, Livdahl and Karim hired List Laboratories of Campbell, California, to produce botulinum type A toxin. List is in the business of providing proteins and compounds for research purposes in the biodefense industry. As such, it must be part of the US government's select agent control program.

However, in purifying botox for Livdahl and Karim, the company was not diligent and, as a consequence, was misled into believing it was dealing with legitimate researchers. And so the select agent control program was bypassed from the inside by a business scam.

Livdahl and Karim turned List's botulinum toxin around for sale as botox and hawked it in anti-aging seminars presented to dermatologists and cosmetic surgeons. The plan unraveled when a defrocked doctor in Florida overdosed himself, his wife and a couple of patients with botulinum toxin produced by List. The four were afflicted with severe botulism, a disease which, for practical purposes, turns you into a piece of wood. They were hospitalized and put on ventilators for months.

The entire story is here under "Dr. Frankenstein's cure for aging."

When the botulism cases were reported the CDC became involved. This subsequently resulted in the involvement of the FBI and Department of Justice. The FBI launched investigations into the business of Toxins Research International, eventually indicting Livdahl and Karim. The duo were arrested, tried and convicted on misuse of a substance fraudulently represented as an FDA-approved drug.

At this point, the government began to slowly work its way through Toxin Research's apparently considerable client list.

In 2007, this resulted in the conviction of Houston cosmetic surgeon Gayle Rothenburg and her husband, Saul Gower. That story is told here and here.

Up to this time, the prosecution of these crimes has been fairly straightforward. Those in the business get convicted and look at significant jail time.

"Hansen, who was arrested early Thursday, is accused of purchasing at least a dozen vials of Botulinum Type A from a company in Arizona in 2003 and 2004," continued the LA Times. "The vials were marked 'For Research Purposes Only,' according to prosecutors ... Prosecutors allege that Hansen used the experimental -- and cheaper -- drug on patients in his Skinsation clinic, 'while falsely advising them that he was injecting them with Botox.'"

These cases remain of interest because they represent the only misuse of botulinum toxin on record. During the last eight years, US government anti-terror experts and fuglemen from the national security business have repeatedly maintained that jihadis could easily make botox and kill thousands of Americans because simple "recipes" for it were scribbled in their notebooks.

However, these recipes don't work. And the American cases illustrate the biggest motivator for making botox is greed -- a desire to undercut Allergan's hold on the cosmetic de-wrinkling business by procurement of cheaper botulinum toxin A produced by a scientific research lab. And the business was conducted from within alleged oversight by the US government's select agent control regime.

LA Times original.

From the Poisoner's Handbook to the Botox Shoe of Death

Poisoner handbooks in the jihadi/al Qaeda literature.


Anonymous Dr. David Hansen said...

It is time to set the record straight. Malicious lies and rumors (such as above) resulted in erroneous charges against me which were proven to be completely false. After a thorough investigation "ALL CHARGES WERE COMPLETELY DISMISSED!!!!!!"
Allergan has always and still does promote me on their referal list of prefered physician providers for Botox. I am a board-certified Dermatologist who loves what I do. We would not have such a successful practice if it weren't for our wonderful patients. Our Celebrity patients come to me because I give them the outstanding results they require and demand.
David Hansen,MD

12:46 AM  

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