Cracking Down On Bogus Botox

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At age 42, Donna Perrone is tapping into the Fountain of Youth with help from a potent muscle paralyzer: Botox.

The fact that Botox is made from the same toxin in botulism doesn't worry Perrone - millions have been safely treated.

But, as CBS News Correspondent Sharyl Attkisson reports, something went wrong at one South Florida clinic. Investigators raided it after four people ended up in the hospital. They were injected with counterfeit Botox, paralyzing their entire bodies.

With more and more Americans anxious to smooth their wrinkles, experts say black market Botox copycats are being produced around the world and marketed to doctors in the United States.

Dermatologist Leslie Baumann, 37, does research for Botox's manufacturer and she uses it herself so she was shocked when she caught a Chinese company she'd never heard of fraudulently listing her as endorsing their product on a Web site.

Seven million authentic Botox treatments have been given in 70 countries, but it's hard to get a firm grip on how prevalent "bogus" Botox is. The FDA won't talk about it and won't say whether they're investigating the cases in Florida.

Allergan, the company that makes Botox, says it's working overtime to crack down on the black market.

"We've been working with the FDA over the last couple of years to detect and attempt to shut down unlicensed and unapproved products in the United States," says Douglas Ingram, Executive Vice President of Allergan.

And since some counterfeiters even copy Botox labeling, Allergan now puts a holographic prism of color on its labels.

Dr. Leslie Baumann says the best protection is to avoid anyone offering bargain basement treatments.

"I say you get what you pay for, so if it's too cheap, if it seems like this doctor is cheaper than everybody else, you have to wonder why," says Baumann, director of Cosmetic Dermatology at the University of Miami.

She says the only legal products in the U.S. are Botox and Myobloc and each area treated should cost between $300 and $500. It's worth it to Perrone.

As long as so many feel the same, there will likely be others hawking a cheaper and riskier version of the Fountain of Youth in an injection.