How young we were... Plastic surgeons are becoming unavailable

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How young we were... Plastic surgeons are becoming unavailable
How young we were... Plastic surgeons are becoming unavailable
19 April, 13:36BusinessPhoto: morediva.com
Aesthetic medicine in Russia turned out to be especially vulnerable to sanctions. The reason is simple: 80-90% of drugs, devices, consumables for plastic surgery were supplied from the West.

They hope to replace American and European drugs with Chinese products. Due to logistical costs, beauty injections will become many times more expensive.

Julia Suntsova

Russia held a 15 percent share of the global aesthetic medicine market prior to the imposition of sanctions due to a special military operation in Ukraine. In the previous year of 2021, the turnover of this business grew by an average of 30% - partly due to the increased need to take care of themselves during the pandemic.

Today, the cosmetics industry is at a standstill due to the pressure of international sanctions and the decline of the domestic economy, which in turn affects consumer demand. In other words, clients will soon have problems - to pump up lips, remove wrinkles and tighten the oval of the face will either be very expensive and Chinese preparations, or in a dark basement, or not at all.

The share of use of imported drugs for injectable plastics and care procedures in Russian clinics is close to 80-90%. They were transported mainly from Europe (France, Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland, Germany), the USA and South Korea.

Logistics with these countries is practically destroyed. Order from abroad - from the category of fantasy. There are no stocks of imported drugs, clinics do not store them in warehouses, because their storage requires special conditions and expensive equipment.

Equipment, cosmetic devices are also mostly foreign-made - they are bought from companies from Europe, the USA, Israel and South Korea. With spare parts and consumables - the same story. And all this is also no longer supplied.

Connoisseurs of natural beauty, of course, clap their hands: there will be less pouty lips, enlarged cheekbones and pumped up breasts around. But they forget that it's a double-edged sword. Plastic surgery is not only aesthetics, it is also reconstruction.

Today, in the offices of plastic surgeons, breasts are enlarged, and tomorrow they restore the mammary glands removed during the treatment of oncology. Today they remove humpbacks from the nose, and tomorrow they collect face pieces after accidents and injuries, and sometimes they transplant them entirely. Experts do all this on the same devices, with the same means.

Implants become difficult to access, especially for mammoplasty. Stocks of implants used for breast augmentation are slowly running out. All existing implants installed in Russia are produced exclusively abroad. We have no analogues. Own production too.

"We are waiting for a certain shortage of implants, their running sizes. The surgeon will no longer be faced with the task of simply choosing from hundreds of different products, but choosing the right one from what is available. Unfortunately, this throws us back to the level of development of the early 2000s", - says plastic surgeon Georgy Chemyanov to Gazeta.ru.

In 2/3 of cases, plastic surgeons in Russia use American products. Although there is no direct ban on the import of implants, difficulties in building supply chains affect the variety and quantity of products supplied to Russia, and, accordingly, the affordability of the services themselves in clinics and beauty salons.

The cost of implants from distributors has increased by 30% since the introduction of sanctions, many positions are no longer available. The load was redistributed to more budgetary Brazilian, German, French and British implants, which are also running out in Russian clinics.

"Implants, many drugs, consumables began to enter the market in limited quantities. Prices for leftovers increased not even two, but three or four times. The euro and dollar exchange rates, as we see, have decreased, but suppliers do not reduce prices, because logistics costs have increased significantly. The chains are being rebuilt for transit through Iran, the countries of the former CIS. The market is trying to refocus on Chinese suture materials and drugs, Indian generics. Many colleagues are now faced with a shortage of implants, so they are trying to buy running models of breast implants for the future", - says plastic surgeon David Poghosyan.

It is not so easy to build supply chains through transit to Russia. Manufacturers simply do not want to ship to Russia. In addition, the complexity of such a scheme lies in the fact that mandatory certification of a medical device is required. It turns out that in order to transport goods through a third country, receive it there and send it back to Russia, you need to undergo additional registration and obtain additional permits in third countries. This takes time - from six months and money, - says a cosmetologist, a teacher of injection cosmetology at the departments of cosmetology of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia and RMANPO Liyana Kolesova.

Equipment for liposuction and lipomodelling used to be also brought from the USA and Europe and most often for individual orders. The problems with them are the same as with cosmetic devices - the devices themselves are not produced in Russia, there are no spare parts and consumables for them.

Prices for aesthetic dentistry in Russia were high even before the sanctions, and now they are heading into space. Suppliers have already stopped shipping veneers, mouth guards, aligners, crowns, surgical templates for operations, prosthetics and implants, etc. Prices for new batches of goods increased by 250%. There is nothing to replace this product - all the equipment and most materials for dental laboratories were supplied from abroad, market participants comment.

"We were lucky with the equipment - we managed to complete the planned renovation of all equipment in the clinic by mid-February at the old prices. Without this, of course, we would have had to raise prices significantly higher, now within 15%. These are materials. In the total receipt of dental services, the share of materials reaches 20% and, accordingly, the growth of the exchange rate in conditions where everything is imported inevitably leads to an increase in cost. In our clinic, we are now financing this delta by stopping investment projects, but in the near future we will be able to close the holes only through a new increase in price lists", - says Yekaterina Ponomareva, Managing Partner and Financial Director of the PerfectSmile Center for Aesthetic Dentistry and Bone Regeneration (St. Petersburg).

Interestingly, in the structure of the Russian economy, aesthetic medicine was one of the few areas that attracted foreign clients. Cosmetic tourists came to Russia for surgeries and procedures, since, with a similar quality, the prices of plastic surgeons and cosmetologists in Russia were 20-30% lower than in Europe. International sanctions mean the immediate loss not only of Russian clients, but also of thousands of current and potential wealthy foreign patients.

Although some resourceful doctors manage to serve foreign clients in countries neighboring Russia.

"They are looking for an opportunity to operate on foreign patients in neighboring countries - Tajikistan, Armenia, Georgia. Doctors fly there, bother there for surgical certificates and invite clients to their place”, - plastic surgeon David Poghosyan told Novye Izvestia.

Is it possible to replace Western beauty tools with imports?

As market participants note, it is possible to replace only certain foreign supplies - these are injectable preparations for botulinum therapy and biorevitalization, fillers, preparations for collagen therapy. However, these domestic developments have not yet passed the full cycle of expertise, and, accordingly, have not entered the Russian market.

"Even during the pandemic, the company was looking for alternatives and opportunities to replace equipment and consumables for a long time. The conclusions are disappointing: it is impossible to provide the required quality of services with the help of Russian analogues. Although in the short term material costs could be reduced in this way, in the long term savings on materials will have negative consequences. For those who focus on quality, this strategy is not suitable", - adds Yekaterina Ponomareva, head of the PerfectSmile Center for Aesthetic Dentistry and Bone Regeneration (St. Petersburg).

Medical clinics and beauty salons, following distributors, rewrite their prices due to the growth of the exchange rate.

"In addition, the real shortage of goods in the warehouses of dealers and distributors in Russia is complemented by their unwillingness to work in a normal mode - many have switched to stand-by mode and are waiting for clear signals - stabilization of the economic situation", - says Yulia Frangulova, General Director of the Linline clinic network.

The multiple rise in price of sought-after beauty procedures, which the Russian consumer has become accustomed to, gives rise to a gray market for cosmetology, experts warn. There will be drugs with re-labels, hidden ingredients, pseudo-doctors with fake diplomas, unregistered and untested devices. The first premise for this is already in place - parallel imports have been given the green light. All this is a big blow to the quality of services, and then their safety.

The growing need for savings will provoke the prosperity of the basement service, the number of complications from home cosmetology will also increase. To correct and heal the consequences of such services, patients then run, as a rule, to licensed and state clinics.

Problems on the market of aesthetic medicine fell down, like evil, in the spring, at a time of increased demand. Part of the clients "preservation of youth" will now be too expensive. Will have to endure. Wipe your face with an expensive cucumber, sign up for a gym instead of liposuction, and accept yourself as you are.

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