Botox Bioterror Weapon? Concern and Controversy

Could the famous wrinkle-fighter BOTOX be used by terrorists as a weapon? A report in this month's Scientific American notes that botulinum toxin is a lethal poison and could be used as a potential biological weapons agent. The article discusses the possibility that illegal manufacturers could sell the toxin to terrorists or could be subversive themselves.

Consumer demand for counterfeit products containing botulinum neurotoxin may be increasing the number of illicit toxin producers. Companies producing "knock-off" or imitation BOTOX might be considered the most suspicious when it comes to supplying terrorists with the toxin, since they are already doing something illegal.

But BOTOX producer Allergan has spoken out against the rumors of BOTOX's risks; Allergan says the toxin couldn’t possibly pose a threat in the hands of terrorists. Allergan also dismisses the possibility that imitation or diluted BOTOX could be considered a biological weapon, and that the makers of such counterfeit products could be dangerous themselves. According to an article by the Orange County Register, Caroline Van Hove, Allergan’s vice president for corporate communications said that counterfeiting is uncommon, and that "We [Allergan representatives] collaborate closely with governments when a potential issue does arise," making the possibility of dangerous counterfeiting companies selling the toxin to terrorists unlikely.

To learn more about BOTOX , click here, and check back with this blog for additional updates on this controversy.

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