Government announces licensing scheme for Botox and fillers

The Government has confirmed an intention to introduce licensing for non-surgical cosmetic procedures including Botox and fillers.

Practitioners offering Botox or fillers will be required to have a licence, with the proposed legislation making it an offence to perform injectable treatments without one. 

The proposed amendment to the Health and Care Bill is being discussed in parliament today (March 1) and would give the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the power to introduce a licensing regime.

Details of the scheme will be finalised following additional research, including a public consultation.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “While most of those in the aesthetics industry follow good practice when it comes to patient safety, far too many people have been left emotionally and physically scarred after botched cosmetic procedures.

“I am committed to protecting patient safety by making it an offence for someone to perform these cosmetic procedures without a licence."

Minister for Patient Safety Maria Caulfield added: “The spread of images on social media has contributed to an increase in demand for cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers. 

“While these can be administered safely, we are seeing an unacceptable rise in people being left physically and mentally scarred from poorly performed procedures.

“Today’s amendment is the next step on the road to effective regulation of non-surgical cosmetic procedures in England.”

The licensing scheme will introduce standards that therapists carrying out non-surgical cosmetic procedures will have to meet, as well as hygiene and safety standards for premises.

The exact parameters of the treatment covered by the scheme have not been confirmed but a Government statement said it will focus on “those cosmetic procedures which, if improperly performed, have the potential to cause harm, such as Botox and fillers”.

The new licensing scheme is in addition to ongoing work with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the potential to bring certain devices, such as dermal fillers without a medical purpose, in scope of medical device regulations. 

The licensing plan is the latest move by the Government to safeguard patients, following on from the legislation making it illegal to administer such treatments to under 18s, which came into force in October 2021, and the ban on adverts for cosmetic procudeured targeting under 18s in a bill due to come into force in May 2022.

Industry reaction to licences for Botox and fillers

Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, Co-Chairs of the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing, said: “We are thrilled to see the Government has accepted our recommendation to introduce a national licensing framework in law for non-surgical cosmetic treatments.

"The APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing’s year-long investigation found that the regulation of these treatments remains fragmented, obscure and out of date, meaning anyone can carry out any treatment, anywhere, with next to no restrictions on what qualifications they must have to do so. This has left consumers at risk and undermined the industry’s ability to develop.

"A licensing framework set in law is an important step in the right direction, however this must be underpinned by mandated national minimum standards for practitioner training.

"Maintaining the status quo is not an option. We urge the Government to accept our report’s recommendations in full and look forward to working with them better protect consumers and support the industry."

Victoria Brownlie, chief policy officer at British Beauty Council, added: “The commitment from Government to tackle this thorny issue is a huge step towards legitimising the professionalism of our industry – something that we have been working to achieve since our inception three years ago.

"We are continuing dialogue with the Department for Health and Social Care together with the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) and organisations within personal care to make sure any new regulation succeeds in driving up standards and protects the public from harm. There is a lot of work ahead, but we remain committed to tackling it head on.”