Recession might mean less frequent Botox shots

LONDON (Reuters) - Recessionary pressures in the United States may mean some consumers opt to receive Botox injections less frequently but the maker of the anti-wrinkle treatment is confident users will not abandon the product.

Shares in U.S. drugmaker Allergan Inc have been hit recently by concerns that the aesthetics market is slowing.

Chief Executive David Pyott said on Friday that Botox, which has an average treatment cost of around $400, would suffer less than more costly cosmetic procedures like breast implants.

“We’ll see over time whether this pans out, but people might try and extend treatments a little bit,” he said in an interview during a visit to London.

“That’s more likely what I think would happen than people just saying ‘I can’t afford this, I’m just going to be ugly again’. That doesn’t seem like an awfully appealing concept.”

Pyott added: “Botox is a very resilient brand.”

In recent years, the average interval between Botox injections has declined to around 5-1/2 months from 6-7 months and Pyott said this figure might now creep up somewhat.

Allergan said after reporting quarterly results on January 30 that it had not yet seen an impact from the economic downturn on its business. Pyott declined to say on Friday whether this was still the case.

Sales of Botox, the company’s biggest product, totaled $1.212 billion in 2007 and Allergan forecast in January it would sell between $1.365 billion and $1.415 billion this year.

Pyott said the market was still young and Botox had significant upside internationally. Allergan is also developing Botox for chronic headaches and as a treatment for overactive bladder.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler