In our society it has almost become acceptable for advertising to be misleading. As consumers we expect this and hopefully don't always believe what we read. However, the standards for Medical Advertising are expected to be higher and there is legislation to protect the public from sensational, inaccurate and deceptive advertising.
Lately there has been increased advertising of prescription cosmetic injectables. Much of this advertising is based around price. As it is illegal to use the actual names of prescription products in advertisements, often the terms Anti-wrinkle Injections or Cosmetic Injections are used.
Sometimes the advertised price can be deceptive. Please consider the following factors when reading these ads:
- There are two "anti-wrinkle" injections available in Australia. There is a well known market leader and a lesser known brand. For the purposes of this article I will call the market leader Product B and the lesser known competitor Product D. Product D is cheaper to purchase for the doctor and is most doctors will charge less for this product. Which product does the advertised price refer to?
- Prices for anti-wrinkle treatments are generally advertised as price per unit or price per area treated. If you are looking at a price per area treated advertisement you need to know how many units of product are being used and how an area is defined. It is generally accepted that an area of treatment is either the frown lines, forehead lines or crows feet. Areas such as bunny lines or brow lift need less product and to classify these as an area is somewhat deceptive.
- The doses or units used for the two products are not the same. The manufacturers of Product D recommend 2.5 times as many units to achieve a roughly equivalent result. In other words, if you normally receive 20 units of Product B in your frown lines, you will probably need around 50 units of Product D for a similar result. Therefore, it is vital to know if the advertised unit price refers to Product B or Product D. If somebody is advertising $10 per unit but they are using Product D, this is actually the equivalent of $25 per unit of Product B!
- There is no recommended retail price for Product B or Product D.
- It is also important to know if the advertised price comes with any terms or conditions. For example,do you have to purchase a certain amount of product or treatments in advance for the price to be valid?
- When looking at dermal fillers it is important to realise that there are a vast variety of products and syringe sizes available. These vary considerably in price. When comparing prices ensure that you know what product and syringe size is being used.