Shop­pers Drug Mart open­ing Bo­tox clinic

The Prince George Citizen - - Money - Cas­san­dra SZK­LARSKI

TORONTO — Shop­pers Drug Mart takes its most ag­gres­sive step into the beauty busi­ness this week­end with its first stand­alone clinic to of­fer Bo­tox in­jec­tions, fillers, laser treat­ments and med­i­cal-grade peels.

But while the Beauty Clinic by Shop­pers Drug Mart is be­ing touted as “a nat­u­ral ex­ten­sion” of the drug­store chain’s moves into the cos­met­ics space, some wary ob­servers fear it fur­ther com­mod­i­fies med­i­cal pro­ce­dures in­creas­ingly re­garded as ca­sual touch-ups that don’t re­quire the ex­per­tise of a physi­cian or sur­geon.

The in­au­gu­ral shop opens Satur­day in Oakville, Ont., just west of Toronto, after a soft open­ing Dec. 22 that saw a steady stream of cus­tomers come through the sparsely fur­nished, three-bay clinic, says Sarah Draper, se­nior di­rec­tor of health­care part­ner­ships and in­no­va­tion.

“This is re­ally what our cus­tomers have been ask­ing for,” says Draper.

“We’re kind of a trusted ex­pert in the space and are po­si­tioned pretty well, I think, to of­fer en­hanced beauty ser­vices in a set­ting that’s com­fort­able and con­ve­nient for peo­ple.”

Tucked into the cor­ner of a sub­ur­ban strip mall, the nearly all-white colour scheme, min­i­mal­ist decor and serene at­mos­phere evoke a spa-like re­treat.

A “concierge” greets ar­rivals and con­firms ap­point­ments in the en­try­way, where a bank of med­i­cal-grade beauty prod­ucts cov­ers one wall. Vis­i­tors are ush­ered into a tucked-away wait­ing area, where cush­ioned seats, tablets and sleek wood pri­vacy screens of­fer a quiet space to fill out pa­per­work.

Draper says one of three nurse prac­ti­tion­ers then con­ducts one-on-one con­sul­ta­tions with each client and takes “an in-depth med­i­cal his­tory” to de­ter­mine a treat­ment reg­i­men.

“Our nurse prac­ti­tion­ers all have med­i­cal es­thet­ics cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and over a decade ex­pe­ri­ence in nurs­ing,” she says, not­ing their higher med­i­cal clas­si­fi­ca­tion gives them au­thor­ity to pre­scribe and ad­min­is­ter in­jecta­bles.

A med­i­cal es­theti­cian han­dles lasers, chem­i­cal peels, and mi­cro­der­mabra­sion.

The Loblaw-owned chain says pro­ce­dures and train­ing were de­vel­oped in con­sul­ta­tion with doc­tors who pro­vide on­go­ing ad­vice, but physi­cians are not on­site.

That’s what both­ers Dr. Michael Brandt, a fa­cial plas­tic and re­con­struc­tive sur­geon in Toronto who won­ders about qual­ity and whether staff are able to ad­e­quately re­spond to med­i­cal emer­gen­cies.

“You wouldn’t sign up for surgery at a gro­cery store,” says Brandt, not­ing that while there are many ex­cel­lent providers in the field, the lu­cra­tive in­dus­try has also at­tracted less qual­i­fied prac­ti­tion­ers.

“All med­i­cal pro­ce­dures have in­di­ca­tions, con­tra-in­di­ca­tions, al­ter­na­tives and lim­its as to what each of those pro­ce­dures can pro­vide and with each of these pro­ce­dures you need to go through a very care­ful as­sess­ment of the pa­tient and then make an ac­cu­rate di­ag­no­sis. None of this is cook­iecut­ter.”

And while nurse prac­ti­tion­ers have the au­thor­ity to con­duct these beauty treat­ments, Brandt ques­tioned whether all of them should.

“Just be­cause a pro­fes­sional has the au­thor­ity to per­form a pro­ce­dure does not au­to­mat­i­cally mean it is ap­pro­pri­ate to do so,” he says, not­ing there are none­the­less very qual­i­fied nurse prac­ti­tion­ers in es­thet­ics. “Is it ap­pro­pri­ate for a nurse prac­ti­tioner to be per­form­ing surgery? They might have the ca­pac­ity to do it, they might be al­lowed as a del­e­gated act to do it, but most peo­ple would choose to have a sur­geon per­form their surgery.”

Brandt warned that if im­prop­erly ap­plied, lasers carry the risk of se­vere burns, scar­ring and dis­coloura­tions.

If a filler is in­jected into a blood ves­sel, it can cause an oc­clu­sion of that ves­sel, killing any­thing it sup­plies.

Still, there’s no deny­ing that grow­ing pub­lic in­ter­est has ig­nited a spe­cial­ized in­dus­try pre­vi­ously the do­main of der­ma­tol­o­gists and plas­tic sur­geons.

Mil­ica Du­ran, a co-or­di­na­tor for the es­theti­cian pro­gram at Cen­ten­nial Col­lege in Toronto, calls it “the fastest grow­ing in­dus­try in the world.”

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