Friday, June 15, 2007

Drive thru BOTOX and the marketing of cosmetic medicine products......not so great IMO

I'm on vacation this week which is why I've been so productive with the blog.

I saw this on FOX-News, but it's been picked up by the DrudgeReport as well. Entrepreneurs in New York have come up with "drive-thru" clinics to give BOTOX to walk-in clients. While this is convenient, I think this is a somewhat troubling trend.

Allergan, the parent multi-national conglomerate, who owns BOTOX, the Lap-Band weight loss surgical device, Juvederm skin filler, and other products has taken a page from the pharmaceutical industry in how they market. Allergan bought Inamed Corp. in 2006 to also become the world's largest breast implant maker and are now arguably the world's premier cosmetic medicine complany.

To these corporations, Doctors are an inconvenient middleman in their product distribution systems. Big pharma realized this years ago by slashing their budget for detailing physicians & concentrating it on print and media ads directed at consumers. What they want is for people to show up asking for their drug by name when they go to the doctor.

Allergan has thrust out it's formidable marketing team with huge media pushes for BOTOX & Juvederm (their hyaluronic acid filler aimed at knocking off market-leader Restylane), with TV ads on Grey's Anatomy and other popular shows featuring actress Virginia Madsen (co-conspirator Tony Youn mentioned this here last month).

From the Orange County Register, in an article titled "Allergan rethinks marketing of Botox, implants."

In its new breast-implant campaign, for example, Allergan's marketers imply that implants are artful, like designer clothing. Even though implants are basically plastic bags filled with silicone or saline solution, Allergan portrays them as sources of power, freedom, individuality and self-confidence.

That's a big change from last year, when Allergan bought Santa Barbara-based Inamed and its breast implants for $3.2 billion. Then, the implants were labeled "Style 68," "Style 101," etc.

The old labels were cold and clinical, so Allergan is giving them a new identity that sounds natural, feminine and artful. In a new marketing campaign, they're the "Natrelle collection of breast implants."

Write this down: Expect to see lots of feisty press releases from the anti-breast implant crowd over this for the wrong reasons (ie. a non-demonstrable auto-immune disease risk). The underlying concept of direct-marketing this type of surgery makes me uncomfortable as it will further trivialize what is an operation and aftercare that is anything but simple.

1 comment:

Medical Spa MD said...

I don't think that Allergan sees physicians as an inconvenient middleman, but a necessary evil. Certainly they're under no illusions that they could go direct.