The Botox Wars

Did you hear about the latest war? It’s the war of the poisons – the wrinkle killing poisons. Wrinkle destruction with Botox has been the most common cosmetic surgical procedure.  In fact, over 2.6 million people had their wrinkles assaulted by botulinum toxin last year. It is so popular because it really works. Give me 20 minutes, and I can have the wrinkles in your forehead, between your brows, and your crow's feet treated, and you'll still be able to go the gym later that day.  

In a week or so, those wrinkles will settle down and you'll look more relaxed, and a little less ferocious. Allergan's Botox has had a monopoly for the last decade or so. And then a competing product called Dysport (Medicis Corporation) was approved by the FDA last year. The folks at Dysport are playing hardball with your wrinkles. They’re offering rebates for using their product and even offering to pay $75 towards a Botox injection if you don’t like the Dysport. There’s no substantial difference between the products so I figured the only way Dysport could compete against the well known Botox would be to be cheaper. And now, less than a year after its arrival, that’s exactly what they’ve done. Dysport costs around $475 for a 3 patient vial, more than $50 less than Botox. With the rebates, that means Dysport is cutting their price nearly in half to hook in patients and doctors.

 Is this battle a good thing? The New York Times likens this competition to the Coke and Pepsi war. And they question the ethics of game playing with pharmaceuticals. I’ll let the medical ethicists decide that question.

Added to Plastic Surgery, Skin Care on Thu 03/25/2010