In what has been seen as a sudden move that came out of the blue, the Health Ministry has forbidden dentists from injecting patients with Botox, something they have been doing for years.
Botox is a big business in Israel: One Botox face treatment can cost between NIS 700-1,000 ($170-$250). One bottle of the substance costs doctors NIS 1,200 ($300) – enough for three to four patients on average.
Thus income from each bottle could come to NIS 4,500 ($1,130) and the average profits per bottle of Botox is around NIS 3,300 ($830).
The decision to forbid dentists from engaging in the anti-aging injections was made following a request from the Israeli Society for Plastic and Aesthetic Surgery.
Dentists previously involved in providing Botox injections, some 300 in total have hired the services of attorney Ilan Bombach who then approached the directorship of the Health Ministry with a request to cancel the decision immediately.
"This is a severe impingement on freedom of profession, which discriminates against doctors whose field of specialization is the face. If necessary, we will go all the way to the Supreme Court," Bombach said on Monday.
The dentists claim that they have been offering Botox injection treatments for years based on explicit approval given in writing by the Health Ministry. A majority of (the dentists) went through various courses, and even those who did not, are well versed in the inner workings of aesthetic injections as part of their routine medical work.
"In the US the injections are routinely executed by cosmeticians and not just doctors," claims Dr Ayelet Drevsky, a dentist from Ramat Aviv. "Dentists study the anatomy of the structure of the skull and neck in greater depth than other doctors and the injections are a daily part of our work."
Plastic Surgery Association Chairman Dr Amos Leviav said: "Dentists do not have enough expertise to inject Botox just as we don't have the expertise necessary to whiten teeth."
Professor Arnon Afek, the medical administration chief at the Health Ministry said: "Dentists do not study neurology and don't engage in the rest of the medical fields.
"The ministry's policy is to limit each field within the medical profession to their specialization, and not just in the field of aesthetics. Either way, we will hold deliberations on the matter with the dentists' representatives."