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Allergan conflicted on teen Botox market as demand heats up

July 14, 2017
  • Despite Allergan making the most famous and widely-used medical aesthetic product, the company’s CEO took the opportunity to speak out against marketing drugs to the wrong patient populations — specifically teens.
  • Brent Saunders, who has two teenage daughters of his own, said in a blog post on Wednesday that he is conflicted by the rising demand of medical aesthetic products — like Allergan’s Botox — in children under 18.
  • “While interest is growing, we must remember that anyone under the age of 18 is still maturing. Their body and appearance is still changing. Emotional maturity is critical to the decision-making process involved to fully understand treatment options and their potential implications. Many teenagers lack that level of maturity,” wrote Saunders.

Allergan’s wrinkle reducer Botox is by far its best-selling product, bringing in about $2.2 billion across its more than eight indications. Of that, nearly $730 million came from the cosmetic uses of the product in 2016.

Yet, Allergan CEO Saunders doesn’t seem worried about limiting the drug’s growth. In fact, he’s calling for all stakeholders in the medical aesthetics field to join him in a conversation on how to manage the growing demand from this population and how to best counsel them.

According to the 2016 Plastic Surgery Statistics Report from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, nearly 230,000 teens between the ages of 13 through 19 had a cosmetic procedure last year.

Saunders suggests “at a minimum, these patients should consult and rely on the judgment of a trained and licensed healthcare professional and obtain parental consent prior to receiving any medical aesthetic procedure.”

“Regardless of whether you agree with me, it’s clear that we need to begin a dialogue about this issue before it becomes a major challenge.  Unless we do something to address this issue directly, we risk harming a vulnerable part of our society,” he intoned.

Saunders is no stranger to controversy; the CEO has been outspoken about the growing problem of drug pricing and has not gained friends in the industry for taking a hard line on the issue.


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