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Dysport issues a “Pepsi Challenge” to Botox

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Remember the Pepsi Challenge from back in the mid-70’s? Random folks were supposedly tested at local grocery stores drinking unmarked cans of soda, one of which was Pepsi and one of which was Coke. Those Coke-lovers who were surprised by their preference for Pepsi were shown in smiling, refreshed amazement after having learned that Pepsi, after all, was the better of the two. Unfortunately, this didn’t make Pepsi the #1 soda. To this day, it’s a close second behind Coke.

Botox’s competitor, Dysport, was approved by the FDA approximately a year ago. To date, Dysport has taken only 10% of Botox’s mighty market share. In hopes of reversing that trend, Medicis, the makers of Dysport, created The Dysport Challenge—big discounts on Dysport to get consumers to try it. Anyone who tries Dysport but still prefers Botox will get $75 towards their next treatment of Botox. This is, however, offered only where practices already offer Dysport, and few do.

As evidence of their initial fear that Dysport would take big chunks of their cosmetic market, Allergan began pushing Botox into consumer awareness as a treatment for migraines and sweating over the past year or so. In fact, although such off-label uses for Botox aren’t technically approved by the FDA, they account for over 50% of the drug’s annual revenue.

In our practice, Dysport hasn’t taken off. It offers little in the way of unique clinical benefits, it costs about the same as Botox and both our physicians and our patients like Botox. We’re not offering the promo because it’s a bit confusing to understand and unless there’s a compelling clinical reason (such as the rare instance of a patient being immune to the effects of Botox) or they ask for it, we’ll continue to use Botox because of its proven results.