Really, America?


"Inadequate eyelashes"? This is what we've come to?

I think I speak for physicians everywhere when I say "Thank God." Thank God I no longer have to turn away the weeping sufferers from my office, bereft of hope that their pitiful, scanty eyelashes will ever be remedied. No more will I have to care for the maimed whose false eyelashes have caught a cross-breeze and who have been blown into traffic. Never again will I have to treat acute mascara intoxication, caused by a desperate attempt to hide the shame of "inadequate or not enough eyelashes."

Thank God for the brave men and women of Allergan, who saw a true human need and said "No more." Truly, you are the best and brightest of the American pharmaceutical industry. "Take that!" I say to those who would question the humanitarian bent of our country's drug companies. What further proof do you need that Big Pharma cares?


  1. You do of course realize that Latisse is the result of a side effect of a drug, Lumigan, developed to treat glaucoma? No one sat down to develop a drug to enhance eyelashes. This sort of side effect being important isn't all that uncommon; Viagra was originally developed to treat angina, and the side effect of the drug became the big money maker. Now Viagra is used to treat pediatric heart conditions. But you know all this, of course.

    Me, personally, I'm glad that drug makers can find moneymaking uses for drugs. It encourages more innovation and research, even if it tickles the snark response in some grouches.

  2. Oh, and one other thing. Women can become weepy suffers as their appearance is drastically changed by chemotherapy, including, yes, thinning eyelashes. If Latisse can make them feel a little better when they look in the mirror, I am all for it, and I am grateful for the really smart people who develop drugs to ease human suffering in all forms.

  3. Oh, fiddle faddle, John.

    Allergan did not hire Brooke Shields to hawk its product on prime time television to help a few women with cancer. If they were interested in helping that small market, they would have limited their ads to trade publications for oncologists. They want to make a gigantic pile of money from women using it for purely cosmetic purposes. While I doubt it will be easy to find this data, I will bet you a cup of coffee at the establishment of your choice that the number of Latisse prescriptions written by oncologists will be dwarfed by the number written by dermatologists, plastic surgeons and harried primary care providers.

    And of course I'm aware that sometimes drugs are developed through exploiting a side effect. In this case, the condition being treated is so inane I can't believe they invested what must have been a mind-boggling sum of money to develop it. (Those clinical trials ain't cheap.) At least erectile dysfunction is a real condition. Eyelash inadequacy makes it look like Lou Gehrig's disease.

  4. Oh, and PS, I defy you to check out the "before and after" galleries on the Latisse website and tell me that you think the difference in appearance (they give you lots of angles to choose from) is sufficient to make this product's existence worthwhile.

  5. Dan, I have to agree with JG. Big Pharma needs the cash. After all it was Pharma who contributed billions to our R friends in congress so they could successfully block all importation of the same drugs we pay nearly double and at times triple what our neighbors to the north pay for the exact same pharmaceuticals. And to make sure they are treated fair, they blocked the legislation that would have allowed negotiations for Medicare drug purchases thereby saving Pharma billions more. If they can make a few million on those poor souls who need longer eyelashes how dare you criticize them. The next thing we know you will be attacking those needing breast implants and tummy-tucks. Have you no shame?

  6. Fiddle faddle yourself. I agree that the primary marketing target is not cancer victims losing hair. So what? If women or men for that matter think that Latisse is worth it, who am I to tell them their aesthetics are all wrong? Who are you, for that matter, since this isn't a public health concern? And I hope that Allergan makes a pile of money off this so they can continue the search for new drugs to treat real diseases like glaucoma. Unlike your hero, Pres. Scary-stupid, Allergan isn't taking everyone's money by threat and pissing it away on Cash for Cloture. I mean, you *need* to pony up $100M for Chris "Irish Cottage" Dodd's reelection campaign, right? It is only fair that the Dem thugs bribe voters with your money. OTOH, how evil of Allergan to market a drug which people buy of their own free choice. Wicked, wicked Allergan!

    And UJ, I agree with you. We should force the stockholders of Big Pharma to fund medical research out of the goodness in their hearts. I'm sure all Progressives will line up to participate once the eeeeviiil profit has been legislated out of existence. In fact, we should bring back the draft, "volunteer" all healthcare workers including physicians, and put them all on military salaries. Everyone who declines Uncle Sam's call for "volunteers" can spend time in the brig until they repent of the error of their ways, see the light, and work for the Public Good. That will solve all our problems, and healthcare will become affordable.

  7. Actually, I have to say, I don't see what's wrong with this. And it's simply not the case that America is somehow more superficial than other cultures or places more value on good looks. Cross-culturally, people value beauty and treat beautiful people better (even children). It may be an arbitrarily handed-out trait, but there are lots of arbitrarily handed-out traits that cause us to treat people differently (like, say, musical ability or intelligence - no one *deserves* more than anyone else to be born gorgeous and no one deserves to be born with musical ability, but that's just how things shake out). It makes people feel better to look good, they get treated better - why shouldn't they pursue good looks? Of course, there's a limit to the pursuit, and someone who devotes their life to it is living an empty life. But it may be argued that a person who devotes themselves single-mindedly in general lives an empty life.

    In terms of extremity of means to the end of good looks, this isn't that big a deal to me.

  8. "Unlike your hero, Pres. Scary-stupid"

    Let me start by saying I'm not sure I'm entirely in love with this throw-away line, John. I'll assume you're being droll. However, I'd prefer that you'd not impute to me beliefs you know I do not hold. Obama is not, nor has he ever been, my hero. You read this blog with enough consistency (for which I am sincerely glad, FWIW) to know I have plenty to say about the POTUS that is not complimentary. If you wish to call him "Pres. Scary-[adjective]," be my guest, though you're coming off a bit one-note at this point. But it's rather more nettlesome than I'd encourage for you to tar me with a broad brush.

    I also question whether Allergan will be sinking its Latisse profits into glaucoma research.

    Regardless, of course people are free to spend their money on whatever they choose. And I am free to think it's idiotic.

    Elizabeth, I certainly don't think Americans are more superficial than other cultures. We're just richer, and have the resources to devote to fripperies like this. Perhaps I am callous because I have such lush, full eyelashes myself, capable of changing weather patterns simply when I blink rapidly, but I have a very hard time accepting that eyelashes could ever be accurately described as "inadequate." (Excepting, of course, cancer patients and the like.) Looking at those "before" pictures, they look pretty damn adequate to me.

  9. Fair enough. I withdraw the "your hero" bit and offer my sincere apologies for being less than kind to you.

    I really, really don't like Mr. Obama. Yeah, big surprise. He looked me in the eyes and lied through his teeth to me, and I'm not ever going to forget that.

    What exactly do you think Allergan will be doing with its profits? Putting them in $1000 bills in the basement for the VPs to roll around in? BTW, the net profit margin for AGN is right at 13%, and at a $0.20 dividend for a $62 share, no one is buying it for the cash it throws off. Operating income (total revenue - total expenses) has been about 2X the R&D expenditures for the past 5 quarters, so they aren't exactly cheaping out. I'm just not seeing where you pick up that they don't use their profits in a responsible manner.

  10. Oh my word, you have the most seriously overreact-y readers I've ever read. My response to the original post: bahaha ha ha. Nicely written, Dan.
    After reading the comments: don't we have better things to fight about? Can't some of you just fight with the people at home instead of picking fights about a tongue-in-cheek response to the greater state-of-affairs in medicine and pharmaceuticals? Sheesh. What killjoy(s).