A drug that Allergen Pharmaceutical sells to people with certain types of glaucoma and ocular hypertension has shown some very unusual side effects. The drug contains an ingredient called “bimatoprost” that unexpectedly and quite effectively stimulates the growth of eyelashes. Allergan has decided to introduce a bimatoprost containing product called “Latisse” targeted to consumers who want longer, thicker eyelashes. Classified as a drug and with reams of data showing clinical effectiveness, Latisse is sure to set the gold standard in a category that was previously dominated by cosmetic products.
As a result, it’s likely that many pharmaceutical companies will be closely watching to see if Latisse is successful. This may serve as a model for other pharmaceutical companies wishing to create products designed to solve problems previously addressed by cosmetics. Since cosmetic products and ingredients are prohibited by law from affecting the structure and or function of the human body, this regulatory barrier may create an extremely profitable niche for pharmaceutical companies in the future.