Los Angeles Times Examines Growing Criticism of Botox
The Los Angeles Times yesterday examined the growing criticism of Botox. Botox, or botulinum toxin, has been used as a "wrinkle cure" by approximately 500,000 U.S. residents and sales "continue to soar." However, as Botox's maker Allergan begins "aggressively pursuing" new uses for the drug -- including using it as a treatment for migraine headaches and excessive sweating -- the company has faced complaints from FDA officials and "growing consumer wariness" about the drug's safety. In addition, Allergan faces a lawsuit scheduled to begin next year in which a woman alleges that Botox caused negative side effects (Piccalo, Los Angeles Times, 9/22).
Meanwhile, the New York Times on Sunday looked at the recent emergence of companies working to develop drugs to slow the aging process. For example, Dr. David Sinclair, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, last month discovered that a chemical commonly found in red wine could significantly extend the life span of yeast. According to the Times, an anti-aging pill could become the "ultimate blockbuster drug" because people currently spend billions of dollars on treatments to fight the effects of aging, including heart bypass surgeries. However, the firms likely will face "formidable scientific, regulatory, financial and public relations problems," in part because of public skepticism about such treatments and the FDA's expected reluctance to approve a clinical trial of a drug to slow aging, the Times reports. As a result, no such drug is expected to reach the market for at least 10 years and probably will be marketed as a treatment for an aging-related condition such as Alzheimer's disease or cancer. Approximately 12 biotechnology companies have already begun developing aging-related drugs (Pollack, New York Times, 9/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.