Aesthetics Market: Fillers May Offer Bright Spot in Tough Times
Signs point to a suppressed market for all aesthetics products for at least the remainder of 2009, but there's some evidence that dermal fillers have escaped the worst effects of the economic downturn. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that while there was a 5% decrease in facelifts in 2008, the use of hyaluronic acid fillers was up by 6%, although dermal filler sales started to take a hit in the final quarter of the year.
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While other medical device sectors, such as orthopedics and invasive plastic surgery, experienced a downturn in elective procedures in 2009, cosmetic dermatology procedures--including Botox and facial filler injections--continue on their upward trend. This fact was emphasized by the record attendance at the American Academy of Dermatology summer meeting held in Chicago in August 2010.
A marketing battle with an unusual twist is brewing between Allergan's popular anti-wrinkle agent Botox and new-to-the-block Dysport, from Ipsen-Medicis. Both sides are citing their REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) as a key competitive advantage.
In the pharmaceutical industry, dermatology is the new ophthalmology. Like ophtho, dermatology has long been viewed as a pharmaceutical backwater dogged by a diverse set of problems, including a fragmented market, drug delivery challenges, and less than effective therapies. Today's market forces, however, are driving Big Pharma into a more specialized direction, and in the past three years, many - if not all - Big Pharmas have reoriented their pipelines, refocusing on areas of high unmet medical need in the hopes of identifying novel drugs that have a greater chance of passing muster with regulators and succeeding in the marketplace. Freed from the need to pursue blockbuster products, dermatology assets are suddenly more attractive.