Allergan ($AGN) is gearing up to promote Botox as a migraine-fighter, a newly approved use for the wrinkle-fighting, muscle-relaxing drug. As reported by the Orange County Business Journal, the company is going to be training doctors on injecting Botox for use against headaches. And it's going to be lobbying insurers to get the new use covered.
CEO David Pyott acknowledges that getting payers to foot the bill for Botox-for-migraine is likely to take plenty of time and effort. Indeed, only 10 percent of Botox use is now covered by insurance. Pyott tells the paper that Allergan will be running interference for patients, to show insurers "that these people are legitimate and have been appropriately diagnosed."
The company has rearranged its sales force to deploy salespeople who promoted the headache drugs Imitrex and Amerge--under an alliance with GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK)--in its Botox marketing. These folks have experience with the headache market and relationships with doctors who could use Botox for migraines, Pyott explains.
As UBS analyst Marc Goodman tells the OCBJ, Allergan isn't expecting the new Botox indication to boost sales immediately. "Management expects a slow ramp due to injector training and limited reimbursement," he says. Long-term, analysts are expecting the new use to add up to $1 billion to Botox sales.
- see the OCBJ story