Counterfeit Cosmetic Treatments are Injuring and Killing U.S. Women

A series of recent cases across the country illustrate how dangerous unlicensed and counterfeit cosmetic treatments can be.  As the FDA points out on their informational page devoted to dermal fillers, “Select a doctor who is trained to perform the dermal filler injection procedure. Having filler injected should be considered a medical procedure, not a cosmetic treatment. Ask your healthcare provider about their training and experience injecting dermal fillers in the face.” The FDA explicitly warns, “The FDA has NOT approved liquid silicone or silicone gel for injection to fill wrinkles or augment tissues anywhere in the body.”

This publicly available information might have saved a life and prevented the pain and suffering of others. In the last two months, three cases illustrated just how dangerous it is to seek beauty treatment injections from anyone other than a licensed medical professional.

  1. In May, Deanna Roberts was sentenced in an Atlanta Federal courtroom to eleven years and three months in prison for killing one of her clients with toxic silicone injections, the FDA reports.  Roberts, who posed as a medical professional, had injured several of her patients with her illegal silicone injections, but one woman in particular was dead 36 hours after receiving injections from Roberts. According to the FDA, on November 16, 2015, Roberts gave a woman listed as L.H. silicone injections into her buttocks. By the morning of November 18th, she was dead.  The coroner discovered that her lungs were heavily congested with silicone. In addition, the autopsy found “liquid silicone in L.H.’s liver, kidney, heart, brain, and spleen.”
  2. In another case, the Hays Post reports that a Leawood, Kansas woman has been charged with illegally importing $194,000 worth of non-FDA approved “Botox,” Dysport,” “Restylane,” “Perlane,” and “Sculptura.” In October, Kathleen Stegman was sentenced to 51 months in prison for tax evasion, however these new misbranded drugs charges could add more time to her sentence if she is convicted.
  3. In Northern California, NBC Bay Area reports that Ana Bertha Diaz Hernandez of Monterey Park is facing charges after she allegedly injected an unwitting patient with what was suspected to be silicone. The woman informed the court that the substance Diaz had injected into her buttocks had moved through her bloodstream to her "back, hips and legs." She required hospitalization and surgery to repair damage from the injections.

Cosmetic injectable cases similar to these have also been reported in TexasPuerto Rico, and Florida.