Allergan-Inamed merger changes cosmetic playing field

May 1, 2006

National report - As if keeping track of the expanding rosterof fillers and neurotoxins wasn't enough for dermatologists andcosmetic surgeons, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)'s nod towardAllergan's estimated $3.4 billion buyout of aesthetic rival Inamedinjects an anything-but-paralyzing wrinkle into what some industrypundits call a quest to deliver "total facial rejuvenation."

Dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons and analysts say the merger will have short-term and long-term implications for practitioners in the field. A first issue is how the buyout will affect competition between Botox and Reloxin, a botulinum toxin product now used outside the United States. Another is the possible bundling of products offered by the companies.

Price war doubted

Alastair Carruthers, M.D., of Vancouver, British Columbia, a cosmetic dermatologic surgeon and president-elect of the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, says a price war between Botox and Reloxin may not happen. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of Reloxin is at least a year out, and perhaps two years, he estimates.

"Neither company is interested in a price war," he says. "What the practitioner can expect is product differentiation with appropriate marketing."

Any price wars in neurotoxins will be more closely tied to additional approvals gained by other developers in the future.

"When you see four entries in the marketplace, then expect the battles," Dr. Carruthers says.