Keep medical beauty services safe
The Consumer Council on Monday published the results of an inquiry into medical beauty industry regulation focused on consumer protection, or the lack of it, in Hong Kong. The inquiry was done in response to growing numbers of medical beauty flops — including deaths — and general complaints about substandard services and business malpractice in recent years. The council made nine recommendations and urged the SAR gov-
better protect consumers receiving such services. Indeed, in the medical beauty sector it is not just one’s image that is at stake; many procedures can become a matter of life and death when they are not carried out the right way by qualified professionals.
The number of medical beauty service providers increased significantly in the city in recent years with the rising interest in personal image enhancement among local residents as well as visiting tourists from the mainland. As the numbers of such clinics and new treatments using “cutting-edge technology” went up, unfortunately, consumer complaints about malpractices and poor quality results also grew. As the Consumer Council has noted numerous times in the last few years, many people did not know certain procedures must be done by government-certified doctors until afterward — usually when something had gone wrong because of unqualified personnel.
Some people may assume plastic surgeons are required only for “lifechanging” drastic operations and medical beauty treatments are not in that category. In reality many such “treatments” are so invasive they require certified doctors to perform them in most if not all developed markets. For example, a woman died after liposuction in Hong Kong in 2014. Relevant authorities found out afterward it was done by a beautician instead of a plastic surgeon, in obvious violation of existing law. In some other cases the problem came from the dubious devices claimed to have unproven beauty
lot of hot air.
Medical beauty services are a highly value-added industry that is supposed to enhance the customer’s image with minimal health risks. The standard of such services must match the exorbitant prices they charge but, sometimes, it does not.
and even deaths we have heard about in recent years have severely damaged the reputation of the industry and of Hong Kong as a whole, in addition to hurting consumers. The SAR government is obligated to update relevant law and regulation to prevent accidents from happening again in this industry, for the sake of local residents as well as visiting tourists.