Approved Practice Settings (APS) and the Prescribing of Botox
Botox and similar cosmetic products are prescription only medicines (POM). Doctors who are required by the General Medical Council (GMC) to practice in Approved Practice Settings (APSs) were not authorised to privately prescribe POM medicines in any environment outside of the APS under restrictions in place in early 2013. However, that position has now changed, so long as the doctor is working for a designated body and can justify prescribing the drug.
For more guidance on the APS requirements, see the GMC APS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.
The GMC has put an absolute prohibition on remote prescribing of certain cosmetic injectables, including botulinum toxin, or Botox. Doctors who prescribe Botox must examine the patient personally, to fully assess the appropriateness of the prescription. The current code of practice (para 62) reads as follows:
- You must undertake a physical examination of patients before prescribing non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products such as Botox, Dysport or Vistabel or other injectable cosmetic medicines. You must not therefore prescribe these medicines by telephone, video-link, or online. [From Good practice in prescribing and managing medicines and devices (2013)]
Doctors can obtain GMC policy interpretation guidance and legal assistance from Doctors Defence Service on issues concerning APS restrictions and the prescription of cosmetic treatments. For more details, call Doctors Defence Service on 0800 10 88 739