An undercover operation in Vancouver revealed an unlawful practice of medicine continuing despite previous court orders to stop, according to an industry-regulating body.
In a release, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPSBC) said it was granted an order by BC Supreme Court to enter and search a property in Vancouver where “Maria Ezzati, who is not a registered or licensed health professional, was suspected of storing cosmetic medical injectables.”
The search and seizure order was granted after undercover private investigators obtained evidence that during the month of February, “Ezzati was administering cosmetic medical injectables to three different individuals at a “Botox and filler party” at a private residence in Vancouver, and being paid in cash for the service.
The incident had taken place despite a court order “enjoining and prohibiting Ms. Ezzati from providing any service that may only be provided by a registrant of the College.”
The search was conducted on February 20 by private investigators accompanied by VPD officers.
Now, the CPSBC said it will be seeking a court order to allow it to attend to the safe and proper disposal of the drugs, products, and instruments that it found during execution of the search and which it says relate to the practice of medicine.
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It will also “be prosecuting a fresh application seeking to have Ms. Ezzati held in contempt of court for her recent conduct in apparent violation of the injunction.”
Botulinum toxin is listed in Schedule I of the Drug Schedules Regulation, CB Reg 9/98 and therefore cannot be sold or administered without a prescription. Hyaluronic acid and lidocaine are the primary medical components of dermal fillers, and they are listed in Schedule II of the Drug Schedules Regulation. They cannot lawfully be sold to a member of the public except by a licensed pharmacist from the “professional service area” of a pharmacy, the CPSBC said.
“Receiving an injection of a prescription drug from an unlicensed practitioner is risky and has the potential for complications, including reaction to agents, infections, or greater harm due to human error,” said Dr. Heidi Oetter, registrar and CEO of the CPSBC. “There is no assurance that the practitioner is competent or qualified to provide treatment, or that the instruments and products being used were provided by a licensed manufacturer.”
Under the Health Professions Act, the CPSBC is responsible for licensing physicians and regulating the medical profession.
In light of this recent incident, it recommends that “any person who has been treated by an unlicensed practitioner consult with their family physician or nurse practitioner to review the treatment/procedure received and the materials used in performing the procedure.”
To verify the credentials and to ensure a physician is registered with the College, members of the public are encouraged to visit the online physician directory on the College website.