Daily Mail: Cheap weight loss procedure in Turkey linked to botulism
Turkey has been a top travel destination for affordable cosmetic procedures for some time. According to the Daily Mail, however, European health officials have issued an urgent warning about the risks associated with a cheap weight loss ‘Botox’ procedure offered in Turkey.
In the period between February 22 and March 1, 2023, 67 patients across Europe were struck by botulism, an illness caused by bacterial toxins that can lead to paralysis if left untreated.
The procedure in question in Turkey purportedly uses ‘Botox,’ to paralyze muscles in the stomach to slow down the digestion process. Daily Mail’s health reporter claims that the injections are being offered for a fraction of the price of similar procedures in Britain and the US.
Turkish authorities have linked the cases to two locations, a private hospital in Istanbul and a private site in Izmir.
US pharmaceutical company AbbVie, which produces Botox, asserts that the Turkish procedure is unrelated to its product and its usage for obesity treatment is an unapproved method.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has urged people who have undergone the procedure to contact medical processionals immediately.
Though UK health authorities have not issued a similar warning, the government's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office has stressed that medical tourism in Turkey can be high-risk, with 22 Britons having died since 2019 as a result of operations in the country.
Daily Mail notes that even in cases that are not life-threatening, the British healthcare system has had to assume the costs of treating “Britons who have suffered health consequences from Turkish surgery.”
According to the article, "campaigners have even nicknamed Turkey the ‘capital of butchery’ with botched overseas surgery estimated to have cost the cash-strapped NHS £5 million in four years.”