Last week, the Food & Drug Administration granted clearance to Medicis Pharmaceutical for their new wrinkle reducer, Dysport. Plastic surgeons and dermatologists may have the drug available for cosmetic use in just 30 – 60 days.
Dysport will compete with Botox, as both drugs perform the same basic function – neuromuscular blocking to relax and prevent wrinkles. Dysport however, is said to be more diluted than Botox and thus more cost effective for providers. The recent FDA approval of dysport also came with a unique warning label describing the risks associated with the botulinum toxin.
Rather than rebranding the drug ‘Reloxin’ as planned, Medicis decided to retain its original European name, Dysport
The April 30th announcement coincided with a 3 percent drop in Allergan’s (maker of Botox) shares, and a 14 percent increase of Medicis’ shares. Analysts and industry professionals expect Dysport to carry a slightly lower price tag than Botox, and say it could capture as much as 30 percent of the current market.
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A medical study on the safety of the wrinkle relaxer ‘Reloxin’ was just published in the March-April issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery. The drug was evaluated for use on moderate to severe forehead wrinkles (or glabeller lines), and the results sound optimistic.
The FDA has not yet given its approval for Reloxin to be sold in the U.S., but spokespersons from Medicis Pharmaceutical say clearance is expected late this year. Reloxin has the potential to become a real competitor for Botox in the U.S. cosmetic surgery market – a market which allowed Allergan Inc. to net $1.3 billion in revenue last year with Botox.
One California dermatologist who participated in the study commented to Bloomberg news, saying “the side effects are the same as Botox” and “many of our patients liked it even better.”
The composition of both Reloxin and Botox is very similar; they each contain a particular ‘botulinum toxin’ that has been proven to relax the muscles that cause wrinkles in the face.
Reloxin has actually been sold overseas under the name ‘Dysport’ for about 15 years, but Botox has still managed to claim over 80 percent of the worldwide market for the neurotoxin. One market analyst speculates that “Reloxin may be priced 15 percent lower than Botox” which could allow it to take a significant share of that market.