Learn more about our policy experts.

Media Contacts

Angela Bradbery, Director of Communications
w. (202) 588-7741
c. (202) 503-6768
abradbery@citizen.org, Twitter

Barbara Holzer, Broadcast Manager
w. (202) 588-7716
bholzer@citizen.org

Karilyn Gower, Press Officer
w. (202) 588-7779
kgower@citizen.org

Other Important Links

Press Release Database
Citizen Vox blog
Texas Vox blog
Consumer Law and Policy blog
Energy Vox blog
Eyes on Trade blog
Facebook/publiccitizen

Follow us on Twitter

 

July 15, 2008

A Sad Day: Olympians Tout Botox

Statement of Sidney Wolfe, M.D., Director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen

It is a sad day when two superb Olympic athletes - whose performances earned a total of 14 gold medals combined - prostitute themselves for undisclosed amounts of money to help Allergan sell Botox. Instead of tens of millions of people watching the athletes’ performances in the past as they strived for their personal best, people will now be able to watch videos of doctors’ performances as they inject former swimmer Mark Spitz and former gymnast Nadia Comaneci with Botox.

This sends a terrible message to athletes, young or old, and to others that they should not accept the way they look as they age but, rather, should try to look their "personal best" by the Botox-enhanced pretense that they are younger than they really are.

Another trouble with this slick marketing campaign is that botulinum toxin (available as Botox and Myobloc) can cause life-threatening adverse reactions. In January, Public Citizen petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to immediately increase its warnings about Botox and Myobloc; adverse reactions can include paralysis of the respiratory muscles and difficulty swallowing (dysphagia), a condition that can allow food or liquid to enter the respiratory tract and lungs, causing aspiration pneumonia. While the data in our petition mainly related to problems associated with the medical use of Botox, adverse reactions can occur with cosmetic use as well. Since when did "personal best" involve subjecting oneself to a risky procedure?

Two weeks after we filed our petition, the FDA issued a press release warning of the dangers of injecting botulinum toxin but stopped short of forcing drug makers to send out warning letters to doctors or putting a black box warning on the drug as we had requested.

By peddling a product that can seriously injure people, these athletes are tarnishing their past athletic achievements. Botox is nothing to play around with. The public should not be lulled into a false sense of security by Allergan’s outrageous caper.

To read Public Citizen’s petition to the FDA, go to: http://www.citizen.org/publications/release.cfm?ID=7559.

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.