BEIJING, September 14, 2005 ( – A Chinese manufacturer of injectable collagen for use in cosmetic lip and wrinkle treatments has admitted to a UK news source that the company routinely sources materials from the skin of executed convicts as well as from aborted babies.

An agent from the company told a Guardian reporter posing as a prospective client that use of skin from these sources is not unusual in China. “In China it is considered very normal and I was very shocked that western countries can make such a big fuss about this,” he said. The company exports their cosmetics to the US, the UK and other European countries.

“A lot of the research is still carried out in the traditional manner using skin from the executed prisoner and aborted foetus,” the agent told the Guardian. The agent said the tissue was purchased from “biotech” companies in the northern Chinese province of Heilongjiang, and developed in other regions.

The UK Department of Health raised concerns that the human-derived collagen, being an injectable product, could be a potential source of contamination with HIV and other blood-borne viruses or even variant CJD, the human form of mad cow disease.

“We are still in the early days of selling these products, and clients from abroad are quite surprised that China can manufacture the same human collagen for less than 5% of what it costs in the west,” the agent said.

In the UK, collagen injections for lip enhancement are becoming increasingly popular, with approximately 150,000 injections or implants conducted each year. A treatment costs on average $310 US.

See Guardian coverage:,7369,1568622,00.html