Cosmeceuticals: The Line Blurs

November 29, 2007

For the past several years, we’ve devoted considerable coverage to the concept of cosmeceuticals—heck, we even have a column called Cosmeceutical Corner, written by industry veteran Navin Geria and published every other month in Happi. Obviously, the word has moved into the mainstream during the past decade. But when renowned dermatologist Albert Kligman first coined the term, industry executives howled that it would bring the wrath of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) upon them. As a result, suppliers and marketers alike did there best to keep the term under wraps.

With the passing years, however, attitudes change and more companies promote “wonder” ingredients that do much more than moisturize. Researchers around the world, it seems, are pushing the envelope on cosmetic claims.

Now there’s a glaucoma treatment that has regulators seeing red. Seems that Bimatoprost, the active ingredient in Allergan’s Lumigan, actually grows eyelashes and that’s a most welcome side effect for some folks. In fact, Allergan, the same company that made Botox a household word, is said to be testing Lumigan for lash enhancement.

Meanwhile, cosmetics companies have already harnessed the power of Bimatoprost and other prostaglandins to develop mascaras that cost $140-160 a piece and are only available in spas and doctor’s offices. Following these launches, Allergan sued for patent infringement.

For its part, the FDA has already seized thousands Age Intervention Eyelash tubes, which the agency called an “unapproved and misbranded drug.” But the manufacturer, Jan Marini Skin Research, said the product was discontinued a year ago, reformulated and relaunched with an active ingredient that isn’t in a prescription medicine. All of these activitities underscore the fact that the line between drugs and cosmetics are getting blurred. To find out more, read The Doctor’s Orders, which starts on p. 59 in this issue. And rest assured that we’ll keep a close eye on this eyelash enhancer and other cosmeceutical categories throughout 2008.

As 2007 comes to a close, we wish all of our readers a Happy New Year. We hope you enjoy this edition of Happi. As always, we welcome your comments and suggestions.

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