ISHRS campaign targets black market private clinics


The ISHRS has recently stated that hair restoration patients around the world are being lured to "black market pirate clinics" operated by non-physicians with little or no training promising guaranteed results which pose serious risks to unsuspecting men and women seeking help for hair loss.

"With the increased popularity of medical tourism in recent years", says the ISHRS, "we implore potential patients to do their homework before considering a hair transplant in another country as laws and regulations pertaining to surgical procedures can be much different than those in their own country."

A recent member survey gauging ISHRS members’ familiarity or experience treating patients who have suffered a botched hair restoration surgery found that 77.5% of survey respondents saw at least six or more cases per year, and that number is climbing.

To educate patients about this growing problem, the ISHRS has initiated a worldwide  Patient Awareness Campaign designed to help patients recognise fraudulent hair restoration clinics and misleading advertising claims. Specifically, social media engagement will be the cornerstone of this physician-led campaign, with physicians and patients sharing stories of this growing problem.

Under the header "Beware of the Hair Transplant Black Market", information on the ISHRS website aims to help patients find relevant information when considering a hair transplant, including how to evaluate a surgeon’s credentials and patient photos illustrating the dangers and problems that occur when clinics do not have the patients best interest.

"Many of the illegal clinics have sophisticated websites ranking high with Google paid ads to attract the consumer into a clinic that appears on the surface very professional.  The marketing tactics are deceptive as it appears like a team of professional doctors with excellent testimonials. However, the reality is your surgery may be done by someone with no medical training.  The demand is so high, reports are that Taxi cab drivers and Syrian refugees do the surgery in some overseas countries. Patients are the ones that suffer when they realise too late who did the surgery and end up with botched  complications and scars and hairlines that are not normal and disfiguring",  said Ricardo Mejia, MD, chair of the ISHRS Committee on Issues Pertaining to the Unlicensed Practice of Medicine.

ISHRS also stresses there is often no recourse when something goes wrong.  In their survey, members were asked to rank on a scale of one to ten (10 being the worst) how big of a problem the issue of black market clinics or unlicensed personnel performing hair restoration surgery in other countries is, 63% percent of ISHRS members acknowledged the severity of the problem and responded with either an 8 (23%), 9 (13%) or 10 (26%).

Consumers are being encouraged to visit the site and verify the credentials of the clinic and or doctor.

"We hope patients will use the new ISHRS resources to educate themselves about the risks of undergoing a hair restoration procedure on the black market and to make sure they understand the local laws and regulations when considering a hair transplant in another country," said Dr. Tykocinski, President of the ISHRS."Forewarned is forearmed could not be truer when it comes to avoiding being a victim of unscrupulous hair transplant  clinics. This problem is also happening in every country, where greedy entrepreneurs and clinic owners choose a business turnkey model where a hair transplant practice emerges almost instantly and the patient is mainly assisted by unlicensed professionals and the physician, if present, has no experience or is minimally involved into the procedure at all."



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